A year ago, the onset of the pandemic resulted in millions of workers around the world doing their jobs from home. It was a welcome change for some, but for many, it remains a less-than-ideal situation.
Everyone's reality is different.
Now, with the end of the pandemic in sight, some are counting down the days until they can return to the workplace. Others have expressed an interest in continuing to work at home, at least partially.
Ford announced yesterday that some of its employees will switch to a new hybrid schedule that will incorporate remote work, even after the pandemic recedes.
Ford currently has about 30,000 employees working from home in North America. The automaker said its decision was based on the results of a survey it conducted last June, which revealed considerable interest in this type of schedule. It is possible that the level of interest may have changed since then, of course.
Ford said it would allow employees who do not need to be physically present at work the option of working from home if they wish. However, they will have to show up at the company's facilities for specific reasons, such as attending meetings, workshops or group activities. Employees will decide for themselves on their preference, but their supervisor will have to agree.
To better accommodate the hybrid model, Ford said it will invest in new technology and reorganize some offices with more emphasis on collaborative spaces than individual offices.
“We know there's a strong contingent who wants that flexibility to choose where to work. The onus is on us to make sure, when they do come on-site, we give them the space to be their most productive.”
- Jackie Shuk, global director of Ford Land, to Automotive News
At Ford as elsewhere, many employees said they were more productive when working from home. The company's internal surveys revealed that at least 95 percent of people want to keep at least some level of remote work.
In the immediate, Ford is sticking to the decision it made late last year that most of its employees will continue working remotely until June of this year. There are no plans to move that timeline forward.