Ford delays office return for remote employees as pandemic persists

‘Non-site dependent’ employees to return to office no earlier than Jan. 2022

FILE - In this April 27, 2021 file photo, an American flag flies over a Ford auto dealership, in Waukee, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File) (Charlie Neibergall, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Ford Motor Company is delaying its return-to-work plans for “non-site dependent team members” until next year as COVID continues to spread across the globe.

The automotive company announced Wednesday that employees in North America, South America and most International Market Groups who are not required to work on site will not be returning to the office until at least January 2022. Employees will be engaged in a hybrid work model once they can return to the office, which the company announced earlier this year in March.

The return-to-work date was delayed in part due to the state of the ongoing pandemic, officials said.

“In the interim, as we continue to monitor the virus, we’ll explore opportunities for team members to return on-site and experience the hybrid model,” officials said Wednesday in a statement.

Related: Workers at Ford, GM, Stellantis facilities required to wear mask regardless of health status, UAW says

Employees who are not required to work on site also now have the option to work from an alternate location within the country of their employment for up to 30 days each year under Ford’s new “Short Term Remote” work model.

The company says it plans to provide a more flexible hybrid work arrangement for employees next year that blends “remote and on-site work arrangements, with a focus on prioritizing connection and well-being.”

Signs show that virus spread is leveling off around the globe, but COVID has continued to infect Americans at alarming rates in recent months. Across Michigan and Metro Detroit, where Ford is based, virus cases continue to rise -- due to the more transmissible delta variant -- after seeing significant drops at the beginning of the summer.

Related: New Ford lab for EV battery development to set up shop in Romulus

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.