Cool enough for Zurich – Online opens location in the Zurich economic area

Neuer Standort Wirtschaftsraum Zürich

Interview with Balz Zürrer, CEO and founder, on the expansion to Zurich

As part of our recent expansion, we have opened a new branch in the Zurich economic area. Our Business Consultant Michael Meyer had the opportunity to speak with CEO Balz Zürrer, one of the driving forces behind this site opening. In this interview, Balz sheds light on the reasons behind this decision and explains the benefits that both our customers and our employees can expect from our new presence in the Zurich economic area.

Balz, why is Online opening a new location in the Zurich area?

Balz Zürrer: Zurich is Switzerland’s largest economic center and a global technology and financial hub. The city is home to renowned institutions such as ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich, which are world leaders in research and innovation. This attracts highly qualified specialists and talented people.

Zurich has a dense concentration of companies and professionals from various industries, which offers an extensive network and many business opportunities. Our customer base in the Zurich economic area is growing steadily with well-known customers such as the Zurich Cantonal Administration, Transa, Lindt & Sprüngli, Kuhn Rikon, the Zurich Cantonal Police and the Zurich University of the Arts. The new location brings us closer to our customers and enables us to recruit new talent directly on site. Proximity to our strategic partners, especially Microsoft, is also particularly important to us, which further strengthens our cooperation.

What advantages does Zurich-Wallisellen offer compared to other locations in the Zurich economic area?

Zurich-Wallisellen is not only modern and easily accessible, but also an extremely attractive place to work. These factors make it ideal for us and new employees. The location enables us to work flexibly and efficiently, which increases our attractiveness as an employer and makes it easier for us to recruit talent in the Zurich economic area. We also considered how easily the new location would be accessible for our existing employees so that we could “breathe life” into the new office as quickly as possible.

A lot happened online in May 2024. In addition to the new location, Online is now also certified as a “Great Place To Work”. What connects these two topics?

The “Great place to work” award confirms our efforts to be a first-class employer. An attractive workplace in an attractive location is crucial for our growth and the satisfaction of our employees. When you get right down to it, the new location is almost more important for our employer branding than for our customers – it is more difficult to attract talent than customers.

What role does the “Great Place To Work” certification play in the growth and expansion strategy?

The “Great Place To Work” certification is a significant recognition of our efforts to be an attractive employer. As a digitalization provider, we are fighting for talent, and this certification is a strong signal to the job market that we offer an excellent working environment. It helps us to attract and retain experts, which is essential for our continued growth. The certification helps us to continuously improve. Satisfied employees are more motivated, creative and productive and therefore make a significant contribution to the success and growth of our company. It also strengthens our reputation with customers and partners, which in turn boosts our business.

Online has developed considerably in recent years. What were the most important advances?

Our “Online” brand was completely repositioned, including a new market presence and improved external communication. This also includes a new website that appeals to both customers and potential employees. Within the company, we have professionalized our HR and reorganized our Board of Directors and Executive Board. We have created the position of “Head of Business Development” within the Executive Board, which is held by Marco Denzler. He was a driving factor behind our expansion into Zurich.

The management at the new Wallisellen site in the Zurich economic area
The management team in the new offices: Michael Kammerer, Head of Microsoft Competence, Balz Zürrer, CEO and Marco Denzler, Head of Business Development (from left). Rafał Zimoch, Managing Director Poland, is missing from the picture.

Why did it take so long to open a location in the Zurich economic area?

Even though we have been toying with the idea of opening a location in the Zurich economic area for over 10 years, as an Eastern Swiss company we have long underestimated the need for a branch in Zurich. Our customer and market analysis has now shown that we are not yet benefiting fully from the economic potential in Zurich, even though we are physically close – but psychologically, as an eastern Swiss company, we are probably a long way away for customers and applicants from the Zurich area. Back then, our marketing agency said of our old brand: “Cool enough for Wil” – but our claim is clear: we are “cool enough for Zurich, New York, London.” With this claim and the market presence we want, Zurich is the logical next step.

Why do we need a location in Zurich when we are already implementing international projects from Wil? After all, Wil is less than 50 km from Zurich.

Our ability to successfully implement international projects from Wil demonstrates our efficiency and expertise. Nevertheless, physical proximity to our customers and future employees in Zurich is crucial. It enables us to work even more closely with our customers, respond more quickly to their needs and increase our visibility in the region. But potential employees are even more important. Today, we receive almost no applications from the Zurich economic area. As our values, our corporate culture and our team spirit are important to us, we also value a regular office presence of 2-3 working days per week, which limits the labor pool with an attractive commute.

How do you plan to build up the team at the new location and cultivate the corporate culture?

We have been operating internationally for 20 years with locations in Wroclaw (Poland), Böblingen (Germany) and Wil (Switzerland). We have learned to work together efficiently as an international team. Zurich will fit seamlessly into this structure. We are becoming more urban, but retaining our roots in Eastern Switzerland. The management and other team members from Wil will also be regularly present on site. Our corporate culture, which is based on collaboration and innovation, will continue to live on at the new location. Incidentally, we received top marks from our employees for our team spirit in the “Great Place To Work” survey, one of the cornerstones of our values.

How do you see the future of online with the new location in the Zurich economic area in the next 5 to 10 years?

Zurich will become an important location for us. Thanks to our strong team, we will continue to grow and develop positively. Zurich will be a catalyst for this development. We are convinced that we will continue to be successful with our expertise and commitment. Perhaps a location in Berne will be added in the next few years – but for now we are focusing on building up Zurich.

What are the next steps after the opening of the site in Zurich-Wallisellen?

We will focus on fully integrating the site and building up our local team. We are delighted to welcome new #proudOnliners to our team: Click here for career opportunities.

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