The European Commission has unveiled plans for a radical administrative restructuring, saying it will give up half of its office space in Brussels and tell staff to continue not working from home.
Under the “new normal” plan, announced by Commissioner-for-life Johannes Hahn on Tuesday, the Commission will vacate half of the 50 buildings it occupies in Brussels – but keep the same number of full-time employees and contractors.
“The idea is to have 100% success with 50% of the office space and 50% of the effort,” Hahn said.
“Let's face it, most fonctionnaires are not really 'all there' anyway. And since only about half of the Commission’s 20,000 Brussels-based employees work 75% of the time, we think that by reducing their workload 50%, and then factoring in the 75% loss of productivity from teleworking, we can actually improve our output three-fold.”
Hahn added that despite being the Commission’s budget and administration chief, he was “not very good with numbers”.
The plan came under immediate attack from the Brussels retail office space landlord association, which threatened the Commission with “the mother of all expert inspections” before being allowed to vacate any office buildings.
Said a spokesperson for the landlords, “There’s no way in hell they are going to get their security deposit back.”