Executives working remotely: an urban flight? 

Geneva, November 2021.

More than one in two professionals is considering moving to the countryside or has already done so, due to the implementation of remote working.
These findings come from a survey of professionals, organisations and business leaders – carried out by recruitment agency Robert Walters – which highlights the emerging trends of digital nomadism and lifestyle migration. But could these new working trends become the norm?

Remote working: an opportunity to move to the countryside?

While 29% of the professionals in Switzerland have already moved to the countryside, 38% of them are considering the move – with the primary reasons being the rise in remote working and flexibility now offered by their employer, and a change in their day-to-day lifestyle, with many executives looking to migrate to rural areas whilst still retaining their city-based job.

Indeed, the pandemic and the successive lockdowns have enabled some professionals to realise that their work could be done remotely. Today, 71% of the professionals in Switzerland state that their position and their area of responsibility allow them to work 100% from a distance and 57% are already willing to work without any office.

This “digital nomadism” has already been fostered by some countries like Bermuda, Thailand or Estonia that have created visas to support this workforce bringing strong economic benefits.

A digital nomadism that benefits the organisations

These new ways of working remotely also represent significant advantages for companies that are currently recruiting: cost savings, a wider talent pool and even a rise in productivity (according to 45% of the professionals interviewed in all countries). Thus, 86% of companies surveyed worldwide plan to continue offering remote working after Covid-19.

“In Switzerland, the average is nowadays 2 days of remote working per week. However, some companies have not yet taken the plunge and are still considering the implementation of a specific system. This topic has become central to the acquisition and retention of talent," points out Guillaume Blanchin, Director of Robert Walters Geneva.

Even if 55% of the interviewed professionals in Switzerland state that the health crisis has not affected their engagement at work, the organisations still have to keep a close eye on their employees’ wellbeing, on their work-life-balance as well as on their commitment.

“More and more solutions are opening up for companies to offer their employees flexible working methods adapted to their needs. Certain ways of working, such as digital nomadism, could represent an answer to the war for talents, providing companies with a broader talent pool and enabling them thus to embrace a wider range of profiles”, concludes Christian Atkinson, Director of Robert Walters Switzerland.