Ford delays return to the office again, citing spread of Covid-19 in Michigan

Motor company has pushed back the date for a return to its offices to March from January

A Ford Mustang on display in Los Angeles. The motor company has decided to push back its return to the office next year from January to March due to a Covid surge in its home state of Michigan. Photograph: EPA/DAVID SWANSON

A Ford Mustang on display in Los Angeles. The motor company has decided to push back its return to the office next year from January to March due to a Covid surge in its home state of Michigan. Photograph: EPA/DAVID SWANSON

 

Ford Motor delayed its salaried workers’ return to the office again, citing the continued spread of Covid-19 as its home state of Michigan has become a national hot spot.

The return has been moved to March from January, Ford said Monday. The automaker initially planned to bring back the employees in July, which was later moved to January after the virus continued to surge.

Ford now says it plans to bring back a limited number of employees to test its “flexible hybrid” system -- in which workers only come in for collaborative work - in February, with a full return the following month. The carmaker is one of several companies, including Apple, that are delaying office returns as the virus surges nationwide.

Hybrid model

“The state of Covid-19 virus remains fluid, and despite the success of our ongoing safety protocols and increased vaccination rates, we are shifting the start date of the hybrid work model to March,” the company said by email.

The Michigan-based company is requiring most of its roughly 32,000 US salaried employees to be vaccinated by December 8th or potentially face unpaid leave.

Michigan has the highest seven-day rolling average of new coronavirus cases in the US. Hospitals in the state have been overwhelmed, and the US Defense Department is sending doctors and nurses to help. - Bloomberg