DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. on Wednesday informed employees that it will delay return-to-work plans until early next year amid the continued rise of the coronavirus delta variant.
The automaker said that non-site-dependent workers in most global markets, including Canada, can remain home until January 2022. It had previously said those workers could return in October.
Ford has delayed its plans multiple times since the pandemic began last year, although some teams have returned to offices and design studios at least on a part-time basis.
When non-site-dependent workers do return, they'll have the chance to adopt a new hybrid work model, which Ford outlined this year, that would allow them to go into offices only when necessary. Ford said it was redesigning its office space to better accommodate this new way of working, with an emphasis on more collaborative spaces and team areas.
"The nature of the work or project will guide arrangements that employees and their people leaders decide on in collaboration," Ford said in a statement. "For example, a team may decide to come into the office two times per week for a project that needs face-to-face collaboration, while working remote the other days, or there may be a sprint where employees are needed on-site for one full week, then work from home the rest of the month. Coming on-site will be for the purpose of collaborative work."
The company on Wednesday also informed workers of a new arrangement where it will allow non-site-dependent employees to work for up to 30 days per year from an alternate location within their country of employment. That would allow employees with a vacation home or who were visiting family out-of-state to continue working with no expectation to be on-site at a Ford facility.
While there was technically nothing stopping workers from doing this in the past, a Ford spokesman said the company felt it was important to make it an official policy.