Mobile work and home office should be retained for many VW employees after Corona – works council chief Daniela Cavallo does not want to overuse the new flexibility. “Many find working from home good,” she told the German Press Agency about agreements to do as many tasks as possible from a distance outside of production.
Direct exchange would be nice
However, you can feel the limits: “A lot of people clearly say they would like to go back to the office and not only see their colleagues via video conferences, but finally have a direct exchange again. This does not leave the workforce without a trace.” Conversely, flexible shift models would have to be used in production.
Bernd Osterloh’s successor has also worked intensively on other personnel issues. She believes that more can be done in promoting women to the top positions.
Too early to return to the office
Overall, she perceives the mood as good, said Cavallo – especially after the difficult house tariff round a few weeks ago. At the same time, she emphasized: “You can tell that the corona pandemic is now a bit on the minds of employees. After a year of exceptional circumstances, everyone wants more normality back.” Protection at workplaces continues to have priority. VW offered its own tests at an early stage and vaccinated in-house.
Cavallo believes that demands from some employers and considerations from Federal Economics Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) to loosen home office duties soon are still premature: “I don’t believe in bringing everyone back to the company shortly before the summer vacation.” Flexible, tiered models are crucial. But it applies: “Anyone who works from home permanently needs more than a small laptop screen and an improvised workplace. That is the employer’s obligation.”
After the pandemic: less office space, lower costs
Extended solutions are required for the workforce in the factory halls: “Even for the colleagues in production, who simply cannot take their work home with them, the compatibility of work and private life is a huge issue.” “Agile manufacturing” should make the rigid layer system more flexible.
At the largest European car company, some changes in the working world after the pandemic are likely to persist. “The company definitely connects the question of where we will work in the future with a possible reduction in office space and cost savings,” said Cavallo. “From our point of view, renting office space alone would not be a solution.” More flexibility is generally possible. However: “In principle, it must remain that the decision whether I want to work mobile or not is a voluntary one.”
More targeted promotion of women
Cavallo has been with VW since her apprenticeship in the 1990s and has also been active in IG Metall for a long time. In her new role, she wants to do even more to promote female leadership talents. “On the part of the works council, we bring up this topic again and again,” she said. The problem is not so much the goals – at least one fifth of all managerial jobs by 2025 are to be given to women, as last formulated by HR Director Gunnar Kilian, the 46-year-old believes “is currently appropriate”. In some cases, however, there is still a lack of concrete implementation, if one looks at the actual number of internally proposed promotions, for example.
“We have to make sure that suitable female offspring is really recognized and promoted,” said Cavallo. “For this year, for example, it has been established that the set milestones for the proportion of women in upper management can only be achieved with targeted measures.” As a result, the promotions in this circle should initially be completely canceled so that the problem no longer arises. “Of course we won’t allow that,” said Cavallo. “The women are there.”
The executives at Volkswagen must ensure in their respective areas to develop the proportion of women “also from the lower levels,” said Cavallo. “We have to stay tuned.”