Ford has announced some 30,000 employees will be able to work remotely, providing a clear measurement of just how much the workplace has changed.
The coronavirus pandemic has driven a widespread adoption of remote work, although much of that transformation has occurred primarily among tech companies. Ford has now become one of the largest companies outside the tech industry to embrace a remote workflow.
According to The Washington Post, Ford discussed its plans at a virtual town hall meeting. The new policy will apply to all workers whose jobs are not place-dependent. The degree of in-person versus remote work will depend on the employee and the position in question.
For example, starting in July, employees will be able to go to the office for tasks that require in-person interaction, such as group projects or meetings. For the rest of their work, however, employees will be able to continue working from home.
“The nature of work drives whether or not you can adopt this model. There are certain jobs that are place-dependent — you need to be in the physical space to do the job,” said David Dubensky, chairman and chief executive of Ford Land. “Having the flexibility to choose how you work is pretty powerful. … It’s up to the employee to have dialogue and discussion with their people leader to determine what works best.”
Ford’s move, the first among the major automakers, is sure to have ripple effects throughout the industry, and will likely put pressure on the other companies to follow suit. More importantly, it’s a strong testament to the success and viability of a permanent remote work model.