Ford Motor Company announced Wednesday that it is offering salaried employees in the U.S. the option to work from home until at least the end of the year.
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"As we make plans to bring back the remote workforce, many team members favored these new ways to work and found them empowering, flexible and cost effective," a Ford spokesperson said. "This has inspired us to expand the optionality for this work arrangement beyond September."
According to the company, 30,000 U.S. employees will be the first to receive a survey to share how they would prefer to work between September and the end of the year.
Employees will rank their preferences between working remotely full-time, returning to the office full-time, or creating a "blended approach" that includes time both in the office and at home. The survey will also be issued globally to the entire virtual workforce, including some employees who have returned to the office in other regions.
The spokesperson said the purpose of the survey is to help the automaker prepare for how it will modify its facilities for employees who want to return to the office. If employees decide to work remotely, Ford will provide them with the necessary equipment and supplies to support remote work.
In addition, a pilot program is currently underway at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, to give employees interested in working remotely the option to schedule time to return to the office to clear out their desks and take things home. According to the company's spokesperson, the program will expand to include thousands of workers on a staggered basis starting in July.
The news of another potential work-from-home extension comes just a few weeks after Ford extended its work-from-home policy through September in order to give the company more time to put social distancing measures in place to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus in its facilities.
"The health and safety of our workforce continues to be our first priority," the spokesperson said. "This flexibility allows Ford to continue prioritizing safety actions such as sufficient PPE for all of the place dependent workforce who have already returned, as well as the for those who would be returning later this summer, and prioritize the modifications needed to additional facilities to ensure the proper social distancing protocols are in place."
According to the company, more than 100,000 employees around the world have returned to the workplace since the reopening process began last month, including at least 12,000 non-manufacturing employees in North America.
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Ford stock closed at $6.33 per share, down more than 3 percent at the end of Wednesday's trading session.