The term "clockwork" is directly associated with the Swiss -- also the saying that when in Switzerland one has to become "like a Swiss clock." The Swiss treat punctuality as a sign of respect, taught early as part of their culture and is somewhat viewed as a certain stinginess by some travelers and even expatriates. Switzerland's demand for on-the-dot precision could prove to be both a "boon or bane" for expatriates.
According to Simplicity's Business Blog Post, Swiss punctuality is a boon for expatriates and their suggestions indicate that it is a non-verbal communicative gesture that helps ease Swiss dealings and transitions in business. According to post writer Sara Santacroce, punctuality in Switzerland shows one "values the time of others," proves discipline, shows organization and that one "has integrity and keeps promises."
In other European countries, punctuality is in the same level as one's courtesy in opening the door for the person about to exit the room. In Switzerland, punctuality is deeply rooted in personal and cultural philosophy. According to BBC, Swiss happiness comes from many little things, including the idea that time indicates one's length of life -- and the value of is equivalent to.
However, BBC contributor Eric Weiner said the "extreme punctuality" culture could be "annoying" as it feels like "a kind of stinginess." But despite its good intentions for showing respect non-verbally, punctuality does a little bit bad for expats and locals alike. Weiner cited that if the Swiss all indicated 4PM as coffee period, everyone would crowd coffee shops -- and tremendously toll said coffee shops' crews.
Expatriates moving into Switzerland might find the punctuality culture intimidating as it could also be stressful. They might also find that the very small things that actually please them easily bother the Swiss if they do not function properly. Weiner writes that once, Switzerland "was thrown into a tizzy" after a national investigation into railroads indicated that 87.5 of the trains met their 89% efficiency target regarding punctuality.
So, expatriates intending to move to one of the world's best economies should be prepared to wear a clock or even multiple clocks if the battery dies. Time is of the essence -- especially for almost everything in Switzerland. It has its advantages and disadvantages and it is worth knowing to see the after-effects of this culture for one's new, everyday Swiss life.
This article is copyrighted by Travelers Today, the travel news leader