The European Commission plans to close half of its 50 Brussels offices by 2030, as it adapts to new working patterns brought about by the pandemic and aims to offer staff more flexibility.
According to a report in non-partisan politics and policy news website Politico, the Commission will merge office space and facilitate home working for staff. The European Commissioner for Budget and Administration, Johannes Hahn, told a press conference the move ‘will reduce significantly the number of buildings in the course of the next 10 years’ to 25 buildings across Brussels.
‘Like all public and private organisations, we are now looking at the most useful balance between office and home working for the longer term,’ said Hahn, who added that, when asked, 90 per cent of staff were in favour of having two to three days a week working remotely.
However, the Commission’s office space is only expected to drop by 25 per cent overall – from approximately 780,000 square metres (m2) to around 580,000m2 – and will involve merging policy departments (directorate-generals) for the same policy areas and moving them into more spacious buildings.
The northern quarter of Brussels, where there is a lot of vacant office space, is one of the areas being considered for departmental moves.
The report said the change is part of a new approach to HR, and the Commission is expected to release a full strategy later this year.