For Ford Bronco fans it has been a long wait to see a new Ford Bronco model. The wait is finally over as Ford reveals the 2021 Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport.
An estimated 32,000 Ford employees throughout North America learned Thursday they will remain working from home through June, a company official confirmed to the Free Press.
Ford had announced previously that its remote workforce would return to Ford offices no sooner than January 2021. A vast majority of the workers are U.S.-based.
Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford North America, in the cafeteria at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn. (Photo: Romain Blanquart, Detroit Free Press)
“The North America workforce was informed this afternoon in a regularly scheduled meeting that is led by Kumar Galhotra, president, Americas and international markets group. It was virtual,” said Cassandra Hayes, Ford manager of transformation communications.
“We’ve been considering the current environment, including local and state (safety) requirements, and ongoing planning about workspaces,” Hayes said.
Unless it is essential to be on Ford property to complete the job, employees are not coming back for at least nine months, she said.
In the meantime, the company will continue to evaluate whether it needs so much building space in the future.
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Melissa Bradley, a business professor at Georgetown University, praised the decision.
“Because of where we are in the country, I think it makes sense,” she said. “It allows people to plan and signals there’s a concern for people’s well-being. It’s good to know that your employer cares not just about your productivity but about your health.”
Melissa Bradley, a business professor at Georgetown University, praised Ford for extending the time they’ll allow employees to work remote. She is pictured here in February 2020. (Photo: Melissa Bradley)
Charles Ballard, professor of economics at Michigan State University, said Ford is following the lead of a lot of companies nationally. “For people who don’t have to work in an office, they don’t have to commute and they get to be safe from COVID. If they can do their job remotely, may as well let them.”
He said the remote work trend fuels the idea that companies need to reevaluate their need for office space.
“Companies just don’t need the kind of office space they used to,” he said. “They’re downsizing their office space and not renewing leases. This is going to be a very big trend in coming years. Everybody is thinking about it. I know people in companies in Michigan that are reevaluating their office space. Ford is one of many.”
In June, Ford employees were surveyed on their workplace preferences — to work from home full-time, return to the office full-time or create a blended schedule that allows for both.
“The workplace you left is not the workplace you’re returning to,” Kiersten Robinson, Ford’s chief human resources officer, said at the time.
Already, Ford has seen 100,000 return to the workplace since the company reopened its offices and factories following the coronavirus work-from-home mandates around the world, Ford confirmed Thursday. An estimated 12,000 Ford white-collar employees in North America alone have “place-dependent work” that must be done at a Ford site — such as vehicle testing and design and clay modeling, Ford confirmed.
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