By on October 9, 2020

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With so many individuals still working remotely to combat The Dreaded Coronavirus™ from spreading, there have to be thousands of pools on when employees will finally be allowed to return to their cobweb-filled offices. But they have to be getting pretty boring because its hard to imagine anybody confidently putting their money down on late 2021 when this whole thing started in February and the press still thought it wouldn’t be a big deal. The narrative has definitely changed since then and continued social distancing has become a popular solution among businesses, even as state-sanctioned lockdown protocols decline after a few were ruled to be unconstitutional.

On Thursday, Ford decided to keep most of its salaried employees at home until at least June of 2021. That’s eight more months of not going into the office and matches the timetable General Motors issued a few weeks ago.

But why would a corporation continue paying for office space that it no longer thought it needed? Ford has already called staff back during the summer to pick up their personal effects, just in case the buildings needed to be repurposed for something else. While the health risks are quite real, COVID-19 has also been the perfect cover for enacting sweeping changes.

“The health and safety of our workforce continues to be our top priority,” Ford explained. “With careful consideration of the current environment including local and state requirements, as well as ongoing planning for our work spaces, we have extended the current work arrangement for our North America team working remotely to continue through June.”

General Motors has already said the same, indicating that it couldn’t possibly entertain the idea of people returning en mass until June 30th, 2021. But that doesn’t mean a return to normal, GM doesn’t want to pay for more office space than it needs to either. “During this period, we’re listening to feedback and working on the elements of a more flexible work culture,” a corporate spokesman explained to Automotive News last month.

Meanwhile, there are heaps of companies that have already committed themselves to allowing staff to work remotely until the end of time  including Coinbase, Facebook, Shopify, Square, and Twitter. Amazon and Google have also toyed with the idea of keeping employees home on a permanent basis, but have thus far decided only to make it mandatory through the first few months of 2021. While all cited health and safety as the main reason for the decisions, a few actually acknowledged an opportunity to save on operating costs.

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]

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17 Comments on “Salaried Ford Employees to Work Remotely Through June...”


  • avatar
    EBFlex

    “The health and safety of our workforce continues to be our top priority,” Ford explained. “

    Nonsense. They’re just using this as an opportunity to shed office space costs. Clearly having nobody in the office had paid off very well (Explorer and MKExplorer launch and continued major issues comes to mind).

    All this for a cold that has a 99.98% survival rate. Pathetic.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “All this for a cold that has a 99.98% survival rate.”

      Based upon what data?

      The “flu” kills anywhere from 20,000 – 60,000 people per year in the USA. COVID-19 is currently at 213,000.

      Doctors don’t treat presidential colds with hospital admission, dexamethasone, remdesivir, and Regeneron.

      “Pathetic”

      That does sum up your post. Appropriate close!

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        Actually the corona cold has killed about 10k people. And that’s straight from the CDC. This fake 213,000 is just a scare tactic. I bet George Floyd is in that 213k as well.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Straight from the CDC? YEAH…. RIGHT…

          I just copied and pasted this information directly from the USA’s CDC web site.

          United States COVID-19 Cases and Deaths by State
          Reported to the CDC since January 21, 2020
          USA
          7,583,200 TOTAL CASES
          +54,887 New Cases
          CDC | Updated: Oct 9 2020 12:21PM
          USA

          212,111
          TOTAL DEATHS
          +979 New Deaths
          CDC | Updated: Oct 9 2020 12:21PM
          USA

          322,741
          Cases in Last 7 Days
          CDC | Updated: Oct 9 2020 12:21P

          I just copied and pasted this information directly from the USA’s CDC web site.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      More bulls**t, which is par for the course for you. The Explorer/Aviator launch issues began months before COVID. TTAC ran this article almost 13 months ago:

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2019/09/as-ford-grapples-with-explorer-and-aviator-issues-one-reader-doesnt-like-what-he-discovered/

      By the way, I was the one who took the pictures for that story. That’s my finger in the second picture.

      Run along, EB…

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        Oh. Silly me. I guess the Explorer that my local police department is waiting on that won’t be released (since august) due to some unknown issue is a figment of my imagination. I guess the receiving yard that handles the government contract explorers saying they have had numerous issues with the hybrid explorer is a figment of my imagination. I guess a local police department that had to lemon law one of their explorers is a figment of my imagination. I guess a county in the northern part of my state that had 9 crushed because they were so broken after being built is a figment of my imagination.

        Maybe having people in an office where they can properly figure this stuff out would be beneficial to the Explorer and MKExplorer rather than having Fords rather inept engineers, designers, etc sitting at home playing candy crush.

        But good for you……and your finger.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “a few actually acknowledged an opportunity to save on operating costs.”

    Are these companies just now learning that maintaining downtown office space is expensive? Anecdotally many office workers I know are pushing for permanent work from home because they like not having the commute (for some that saves nearly 2 hours a day) and like being able to work in shorts. It can also give people more geographic freedom (your “office” is in Atlanta but you live in Savannah).

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @ajla – I do agree that it can be beneficial to both workers and employee’s.

      The biggest downside I see is that if most of the work can be done from home, what is stopping companies from outsourcing that same work to the lowest bidder?

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Well, a lot of work already is outsourced.
        The argument against doing that for *everything* is that “the lowest bidder” isn’t always going to be the best person for a job or possibly even competent. Granted that won’t stop some companies from doing it, but they’ll likely suffer as a result and they were probably poorly run before COVID.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’ve been telecommuting since February – my company approved me to do it prior to the pandemic hitting – and also did it from 2010-2018, so I know the ups and downs of it quite well.

      The main benefit is transportation cost – less gas used, less wear and tear on your car, etc. I can spend more time on things I want to do versus sitting in traffic.

      I also think it’s paid off career-wise – I’m not someone who keeps his opinions to himself easily, so it’s easier to come off as “team player” and still be able to b*tch and moan to your heart’s content. In my line of work, which has ENDLESS bulls**t going on, that’s a real good thing. I can yell at my keyboard to my heart’s content.

      The downside is isolation. It’s VERY difficult to start and maintain professional relationships remotely, and zoom calls are a poor substitute. Most of the people I worked with in the office have moved on.

      As an aside, I went into the office a few weeks ago to pick up some stuff that was left at my desk, and it’s unbelievably eerie – there were two people working in an office where about 100 people had been. The vending machines in the breakroom were empty. All the desk calendars were still turned to March, which was also the last date anyone signed the visitor’s log. If the power had been off, it’d have been like an end-of-the-world movie. Very disquieting.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        FM – I share much of your sentiment. I work where unnecessary hurdles are thrown up and frankly, it pisses me off. Needless to say, distance does not always save you – I had an email I wrote sent to the top dog with sections highlighted…something about the “tone” being unnecessarily harsh. Well, too damn bad! After a “meeting” they accepted my frustration and made some changes. You can do this when you have the option of retiring. But a building that normally has 2,700 people in it now has under 100. So it is really odd. But instead of getting up at 4:15am, I now sleep to 7:30! And I save $900 a month between transit costs, lunches, etc. And I lost 10 lbs of snacking fat. So, while I miss a lot of my coworkers, there is a lot of upside from working remotely. Businesses are realizing that they can save a ton of money on office space, more that enough to offset any lost productivity from a few who abuse the privilege.

    • 0 avatar
      BobinPgh

      But the workers who actually assemble cars DO work wearing shorts so why not come back to the office? P.S. is that really such a great idea in an auto plant, what about all that sharp metal?

  • avatar
    R Henry

    I am a salesguy, and can tell you that I can accomplish lots of mundane paperwork like reports from my home office. I can make phone calls, and I can send emails…but…

    The kind of product I need to sell does NOT sell without a long series of collaborative in-person meetings, during which time mutual trust is slowly developed. Without that trust, the wheels grind to a halt. I do NOT believe that the human psyche will ever be able to adjust to establishing trust via Zoom..it will NEVER replace face to face discussion, handshakes (ewwwww!!!!) and some socializing on a golf course or while breaking bread together.

    As long as Ford’s white collar workforce is at home, they will churn out whatever paperwork is required, but don’t depend on the business to expand or for innovation to occur. Best selling F150s and Mustangs don’t get designed by lonely artistic types locked in their home office!

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I agree – I miss the human contact.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Agreed.

      As a development engineer, my contact with technical sales people has been dwindling for years. But now it is zero, and I don’t know how the sales people I know are going to make it.

      I still visit the office for a few hours a week, to pick up prototype parts and look over the progress of our hardware, but most of R&D is an eerie ghost town.

      I had the rare joy of meeting some coworkers for an outdoor dinner the other night. It was nice to experience some normalcy for a couple hours.

    • 0 avatar
      BobinPgh

      Why not tape an informercial? It works for ShamWOW!, it might work for your products.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    My job is currently doing a hybrid strategy where we’re in the office roughly half the time, and working from home the rest of the time. There have been a few occasions where I’ve gotten my days mixed up and overslept. I presume this is something the company understands will happen occasionally and is pretty understanding when it happens. But for my internet connection which isn’t as robust as it could be, I like working from home. Even though my job is straight forward, the show connection can get grating.

    My other experience with working from home was 10 years ago. It was 100% asynchronous. There were times I’d be awake at 2 in the morning and decide to work straight through to 10 and be done for the day; it was nice. The problem was that what was sold as a “perk” was really just the company testing their system before shipping our jobs to India.

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