Novartis introduces company-wide flexible working model

PHARMACEUTICALS

The pharmaceutical giant offers the opportunity to choose how - where and when to work to get the best results for its employees - The multinational company employs 110,000 people in different countries

Novartis introduces company-wide flexible working model
© KEYSTONE / Georgios Kefalas

Novartis introduces company-wide flexible working model

© KEYSTONE / Georgios Kefalas

Novartis, one of the first companies in Switzerland - offers the possibility of permanent teleworking to those who want it - even after the recent lockdown due to coronavirus. Tamedia newspapers reported the update of the new approach sharing it will have important consequences on the properties of the pharmaceutical giant and in the world - Basel in particular.

We offer all our staff the choice of how they wish to work to get the best results - said CEO Vas Narasimhan yesterday on the sidelines of the presentation of the half-year results. ‘In the coming years, we will adapt the space requirement on the Rhine campus’

Employees must currently inform their superiors if they intend to return to the office in the future. On the basis of the data collected, the surfaces that could be released will be determined: with regard to the fate of the latter, at the moment it is still too early to say what will happen. This process applies to all Novartis offices worldwide: in some countries, personnel are still confined to their home due to the pandemic. Overall the multinational employs 110,000 people.

The Novartis Campus in Basel covers 20 hectares. Designed by leading architects - a corporate city, with its own Coop branch as well as restaurants and gyms reserved for the staff of the group. The streets that divide the buildings are named after gods or big names in medicine, such as Marie Curie.

The campus - offices, laboratories and production plants - was planned for 13,000 employees: before the epidemic, 7,500 people worked there. At the moment no building is completely empty, but the coronavirus will forcefully lease surfaces to third parties. Interaction with society and the local community - a point on which criticism had not been lacking in the past - should also improve.

According to a real estate expert consulted by Tamedia, the starting situation is basically positive: Basel has a still healthy office market and it should be possible to find new tenants.

For Thomas Kessler, from 2009 to 2017 in charge of the city development department of Basel-Stadt, the evolution in progress shows that the era of the former number one of Novartis Daniel Vasella has definitely passed. ‘Instead of competing to see who has the most beautiful buildings, today we focus on the densification of spaces and their intelligent use for everyone’ he says. ‘The coronavirus crisis also helps in this regard’ According to Kessler, a company can save even without laying off and Novartis, with its campus, could act as a pioneer in this area.

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