FAQ on Mobile Working and Virtual Leadership

For Employees

How do I make arrangements for mobile working, and who with?

The detailed of mobile working arrangements are agreed between the individual employees and their line managers, i.e. they are discussed and generally put into writing afterwards. A sample agreement containing all the details can be found on the "Working Models" website. This agreement needs to be signed by both parties and submitted for filing in the employee file of the individual employees.
Arbeitsmodelle der UZH

What do I have to consider when working remotely?

The general rules concerning the rights and duties of employees apply to mobile working. Mobile work is considered equivalent to on-site work at UZH. Please read the Guidelines on Mobile Working at UZH, which contains all the details that need to be observed and refers to more detailed documents. Further details are contained in your individual agreement with your line manager, which is usually created from the sample agreement and which must be observed.
Guidelines on Mobile Working at UZH (PDF, 96 KB)

If you have any follow-up questions regarding these documents, please do not hesitate to contact the HR consultants in Human Resources.
​​​​​​​HR consultants

Do I get financial compensation for mobile working?

No, there is no entitlement to reimbursement of costs. Mobile working is voluntary at the request of employees. In principle, employees have a workplace at UZH. However, UZH will provide mobile devices for mobile working if possible.

Do the mobile working guidelines also apply to a 20% employment level? How do I implement it?

The guidelines apply in principle to all UZH staff. The employment level is relevant for the extent to which mobile working can be agreed. In the case of small employment levels, it is generally necessary to consider whether mobile working also makes sense from an operational point of view. Other forms of mobile working should also be considered, such as irregular or sporadic (days by arrangement, fortnightly, monthly) mobile working instead of regular mobile working days. Whether the scope of mobile working can be approved in deviation from the rules is decided by the line managers.

Am I entitled to an individual workplace if I regularly work remotely?

No, at UZH there is generally no entitlement to an individual workplace, even if this is often the case in practice. In the case of mobile working, the shared-and-clean-desk principle is applied at UZH. The concrete planning in the organizational units is carried out by the managers.

What is UZH doing to make hybrid working successful?

Managers are responsible for designing mobile working in their organizational units in such a way that both the requirements of an on-site university and the concerns of employees are taken into account as far as possible. Everyone is invited to contribute to high-quality performance and successful collaboration as well as team cohesion, even with hybrid forms of work.

To what extent have the results of the UZH pandemic management survey been included in the new mobile working guidelines?

The guidelines were jointly developed in a project group made up of participants from the pandemic management team, among others, and reviewed and adapted by a steering committee before being adopted by the Executive Board of the University. The findings on working from home and mobile working gathered over the past two years were brought in, carefully considered and included where appropriate.

What are the arguments in favor of the model with a minimum on-site presence of 60% of the respective employment level?

A minimum level of presence ensures various aspects of the work at an on-site university. Many tasks can only be performed on site, which is why a basic presence is mandatory. Even for tasks that can be carried out remotely, on-site work has proven successful for ensuring personal interaction and fostering innovative ideas. In general, a certain on-site presence and the proximity to the research group, to the team, to the other members of the organization, contribute to team spirit and identification with the university.

Why can’t UZH employees decide about the extent of on-site work or mobile work freely or together with their line managers?

In principle, the Executive Board of the University defined a minimum presence in relation to the degree of employment. It did this bearing in mind that UZH is an on-site university and in line with, among other things, the latest scientific findings. The approved guidelines contain this principle of minimum presence. With regard to the individual organizational units, it is the responsibility and discretion of the respective managers to arrange on-site work or mobile working in such a way that the operational requirements and successful cooperation can best be met.

How long do the new mobile working guidelines apply?

The guidelines are valid for an unlimited period of time or until they are revoked by the Executive Board of the University. The guidelines are regularly reviewed for suitability and can be adapted to new findings and requirements as well as revoked.

Do the guidelines also apply to cross-border commuters? Is there anything in particular I need to consider?

Yes, the guidelines also apply to cross-border commuters – provided that the mobile work is compatible with the operational requirements of UZH (see Guidelines on Mobile Working at UZH, section 19, paragraph 2).
By being employed at UZH, cross-border commuters who are CH, EU or EFTA citizens are covered by social and accident insurance in Switzerland. This applies if they work either in Switzerland or in their country of residence, and regardless of the duration of mobile work. Prior clarification of social insurance obligations is therefore not necessary in these cases.
However, with regard to withholding tax obligation, please note that working days that are performed in the country of residence must be disclosed separately and signed by the employee’s line manager. This documentation must be submitted to the relevant tax authority at the end of the year.

Special prior clarification is required if
a) the cross-border commuters are neither Swiss nor EU or EFTA citizens, or
b) the cross-border commuters work outside either Switzerland or their country of residence for more than one month.  
Please contact the relevant Center of Competence.

Am I still covered by accident insurance when I work remotely?

In principle, employees’ insurance situation doesn’t change. Employees continue to be covered by accident insurance provided that their place of work is in Switzerland.

For Line Managers

How do I go about arranging on-site work or mobile working with my employees?

Individual agreements must be made with your employees, and these agreements must generally be made in writing. In the case of temporary mobile working, no written agreement is required, but the decision needs to be documented. The contents of the agreement are based on the Guidelines on Mobile Working at UZH. Copies of the mobile working agreements are to be submitted to Human Resources.

How does UZH support me in implementing the new mobile working guidelines?

The guidelines provide a good overview of the requirements, what needs to be observed and the discretionary powers of managers.
Guidelines on Mobile Working at UZH (PDF, 96 KB)

A sample agreement, which can be adapted for individual employees according to operational requirements, is available in the appendix to the guidelines.

For further and personal advice, the HR consultants in Human Resources will be happy to assist you.
HR consultants

What do I have to pay special attention to when coordinating on-site work or mobile working?

On-site attendance is primarily determined by operational requirements. There is also no entitlement to mobile working. Mobile work is voluntary and takes place at the request of the employee, i.e. it may not be ordered.

If mobile working is possible in the organizational unit, it should be made possible for employees. In principle, according to the guidelines, employees are required to work on site for at least 60% of their respective employment levels.

The implementation of mobile working within the organizational unit should be handled as equally as possible. This means that, in principle, all employees should be granted the same opportunities under the same conditions (tasks, requirements, etc.) or, in the case of unequal conditions, unequal implementation may be objectively justified.

When can I require my employees to work on site?

This is the case when it affects operational interests in particular. Within the scope of their general authority to issue instructions, line managers may order their employees to work on site at any time if there are objective reasons for doing so.

If mobile working has been agreed and line managers order their employees to be present, this should generally be announced 24 hours in advance, according to the guidelines. If a more rapid presence is required for operational reasons, for example due to staff shortages or urgent business, this must be agreed with the employees.

What do I need to pay attention to in order to make hybrid working successful?

In principle, it is assumed that the positive effects (e.g., employee motivation and satisfaction, flexibility) of mobile working will outweigh any negative effects (e.g., less interaction in the team, technological issues). Nevertheless, it is essential to combine the advantages of site-independent working with on-site working in hybrid working. For example, it can be beneficial for the organizational culture to deliberately hold individual meetings (e.g., jour fixes, team meetings) in the presence of employees, and it is advisable to make clear agreements with employees (e.g., regarding accessibility). In addition, mixed teams of mobile and on-site employees can be used, for example in projects. In general, the work culture on the part of the line managers should be marked by palpable trust and respect for the privacy of employees. Furthermore, work-related and personal exchanges between employees and line managers should be maintained on an ongoing basis.

What happens in the case of concurrent employment?

As a rule, mobile working arrangements have to be agreed on and put in writing separately for each employment relationship, since the employment conditions are different.

If the line manager for the employee’s different roles is the same, an agreement may exceptionally cover multiple employment relationships. This has to be noted clearly in the agreement.

For Professors

To what extent does mobile working apply to professors?

Professors are subject to separate regulations, which can be obtained from the Professorships Department.

From the general Guidelines on Mobile Working at UZH according to Art. 3 only the following apply to professors:

  • Art. 2, according to which there must generally be a minimum on-site presence of 60% of the employment level during the lecture period, and
  • Art. 19, according to which in the case of mobile working, the place of work is generally Switzerland, and if mobile working from abroad is requested, the implications on social security contributions must be checked in advance by Human Resources and approved by the department/institute or clinic management, as considerable financial risks may exist.

Guidelines on Mobile Working at UZH (PDF, 96 KB)