Volkswagen’s leadership is sending its managers back to their offices. The company’s departments said on Friday that instead of just one day a week, management employees must return to work four times a week. The changes have been in effect since November 1 at the four production sites in Wolfsburg, Emden, Osnabrück and Zikau as well as in the development department at the company’s headquarters. Several thousand employees are affected, including many middle management employees.
“In order to optimally design hybrid working, it is important to create the right balance between mobile and in-office work,” a Volkswagen spokeswoman said. “Accordingly, Volkswagen continues to offer its employees the opportunity to work remotely if activity permits,” it did not provide further details about the scope of mandatory attendance or the change that has now occurred.
Some have given up their second homes
Previously, VW had a generous home-office rule for office employees not directly involved in production: only one day of attendance per week was planned, which could also be completed once a month as a four-day block. Volkswagen introduced the regulation in March 2022, when the general requirements for home offices during the pandemic ended. Many external employees took advantage of the regulation to work primarily from their main residence, which was often far away, and some left for their second home in Wolfsburg.
CEO Oliver Blume and brand head Thomas Schaefer, who flies from his main residence in Ireland to Wolfsburg every week, have long been pressing staff to be on site more often again. According to company circles, deviation from the generous regulation is now justified by ensuring product launches and working on the planned efficiency programme. This requires a greater presence on site. The design of the efficiency programme, through which VW wants to save ten billion euros, is currently being negotiated with the works council, and the results should be available by the end of the year.
The works council said there would be no change to the company’s current agreement on mobile work. This actually saves up to four days of attendance per week. “But it was and remains the case: no person is generally entitled to a certain number of mobile working days,” a commission spokesman said. Careful design must always be adapted to operational needs. “That’s exactly the way it was before, and that’s exactly the way it is now.”
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