WOLFSBURG (dpa-AFX) - VW's top management is bringing its executives back to the office. Instead of just one day a week, management employees are to return to the office four times a week, according to company sources on Friday. The changes have been in place since November 1 at the four production sites in Wolfsburg, Emden, Osnabrück and Zwickau as well as in the development department at the Group headquarters. Several thousand employees are affected, including many in middle management.

"In order to optimize hybrid work, it is important to create the right balance between mobile work and work in the office," said a VW spokeswoman. "Accordingly, Volkswagen continues to offer its employees the opportunity to work remotely if the job allows it." She did not provide any further details on the scope of the attendance requirement or the change that has now been made.

Previously, VW had a generous home office regulation for office employees who were not directly involved in production: only one day of presence per week was planned, which could also be fulfilled as a four-day block once a month. VW introduced this regulation in March 2022, when the general obligation to work from home during the pandemic ended. Many non-resident employees took advantage of the scheme to work primarily from their main residence, which was often far away, and some moved to their second home in Wolfsburg.

Group CEO Oliver Blume and brand boss Thomas Schäfer, who himself commutes to Wolfsburg by plane every week from his main residence in Ireland, have long been pushing for employees to be back on site more often.

According to company circles, the reason given for turning away from the generous regulation is to ensure product launches and work on the planned efficiency program. This requires a greater presence on site. The structure of the efficiency program, with which VW wants to save ten billion euros, is currently being negotiated with the works council and results should be available by the end of the year.

The current works agreement on mobile working will not change, according to the Works Council. This already provides for up to four days of presence per week. "However, the following still applies: no one is generally entitled to a certain number of days of mobile working," said a spokesperson for the committee. The exact structure must always be adapted to operational requirements. "That's exactly how it was before, and that's exactly how it is now."/fjo/DP/nas