The German government is considering sending civil servants to home office this winter due to the worsening energy crisis, local media reported on Tuesday.
According to Business Insider, at a recent meeting of a federal ministry, one of the proposals was a mandatory home office for civil servants and employees this winter, while larger ministries have reportedly voiced objections to the plans.
One of the main objections was that there were not enough laptops and cell phones to equip all civil servants.
At the meeting, cooling the rooms down to 19 degrees Celsius (around 66 F) was also discussed as an alternative, the news portal reported.
If this is too cold for someone, they would be allowed to work from home.
The background to the plans is a decree by Economics and Energy Minister Robert Habeck, which includes energy-saving measures in public buildings.
The German government wants to save just under 20 terawatt-hours (TWh) of gas annually by lowering room temperatures in isolated cases to reduce the German gas consumption by around 2%, the report said. This is to be supplemented by further savings in electricity consumption of over 10 TWh.
Germany, along with many European countries, has been facing energy shortages as Russia significantly reduced the supply of natural gas to Europe in response to sanctions imposed on Moscow over its war on Ukraine.
Russia temporarily halted gas deliveries via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline earlier this month, and Russian officials argued that the Western sanctions were hampering the maintenance work for the turbines. German politicians, however, accused Moscow of using gas as a weapon to exert pressure on Berlin.
Chancellor Olaf Schloz’s coalition government introduced a package of energy-saving measures to decrease consumption by 20% and fill up gas storage facilities to 95% by Nov. 1, to be prepared for winter.