In Switzerland, punctuality is important. Expectations vary by age, gender, political leaning and language.
Someone among the 15% that frown upon any degree of tardiness is most likely to be male, over 65, politically right, and Italian speaking, according to figures published in a survey by Sotomo.
The survey, done on behalf of the insurance company KPT, asked 7,958 people across the nation for their views on timeliness.
Overall, 15% consider being even slightly late unacceptable. 33% think 5 minutes is within the limits of decency, while 51% will stretch to 10 minutes or more before getting upset.
The largest variations are associated with age. 23% of Swiss over 65 find any degree of lateness impolite, while only 12% of 18 to 34 year olds do.
Men tend to be more demanding than women. 18% do not tolerate any lateness compared to 13% of women. Only 49% of men think waiting 10 minutes or more is OK compared to 54% of women.
Politics plays a part too. Those on the right are more demanding than those on the left. 18% offer no leeway on turning up late, compared to 12% on the left. And, only 44% on the right think being 10 minutes or more late is acceptable compared to 58% on the the left.
City dwellers are more time flexible than country folk. 89% of urbanites are OK with at least a short wait, as are 90% of those working in the arts and media.
Contrary to the stereotype of Switzerland’s German speakers always being uber pünctlick, it is Italian and French speakers who are more likely to tap their watches in disgust when someone turns up late. 23% of Italian speakers and 21% of French speakers have a zero-wait tolerance. Among German-speakers the same figure is 13%. 54% of German speakers tolerate waiting 10 minutes or more. Only 40% of Italian speakers and 47% of French speakers are this accommodating.
The survey finds that French and Italian speakers feel more of their time is lost doing nothing than German speakers do. Perhaps their lower lateness tolerance is because they feel they waste more time waiting.
Those looking for more precision on Swiss punctuality might just have to wait and see.