Ford's Move Suggests Work From Home Will Outlast COVID

30K told they can work from home indefinitely
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 17, 2021 1:03 PM CDT
Ford Signals That Working From Home Is Here to Stay
School board member Abdi Sabrie works in his home office Thursday, March 11, 2021, in Eagle Lake, Minn.   (AP Photo/Pat Christman)

It's a question occupying the minds of millions of employees who have worked from home the past year: Will they still be allowed to work remotely—at least some days—once the pandemic has faded? On Wednesday, one of America's corporate titans, Ford Motor Co., supplied its own answer, the AP reports. It told about 30,000 of its employees worldwide who have worked from home that they can continue to do so indefinitely, with flexible hours approved by their managers. Their schedules will become a work-office "hybrid": They'll commute to work mainly for group meetings and projects best-suited for face-to-face interaction.

Ford's announcement sent one of the clearest signals to date that the pandemic has hastened a cultural shift in Americans' work lives by erasing any stigma around remote work and encouraging the adoption of technology that enables it. Broader evidence about the post-pandemic workplace suggests that what was long called telecommuting will remain far more common than it was a year ago. A report this week from the employment website Indeed says postings for jobs that mention "remote work" have more than doubled since the pandemic began—and are still increasing even while vaccinations are accelerating. The share of job postings that mention working from home is now at 7%, but it is much higher in some industries, including legal services and banking.

(Read more Ford stories.)

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