Ford Is Keeping Employees at Home Amid COVID Surge

Whether you like it or not, Coronavirus cases are continuing to surge. The Delta Variant of the virus is becoming a growing concern, and now, many industries are taking notice. Ford is one of them. Now, the Blue Oval has elected to delay the return of many of its workers to the office. However, that raises some questions. For one, what does this mean for production? Ford has already made several delays to production, and this can very easily make things worse.

Ford wants to keep people at home

An empty cubicle with two computer monitors and a red chair
Empty desks will continue to be a common sight in Dearborn | Sebastian Kahnert via Getty Images

Per CNBC and Ford, the Blue Oval has about 86,000 employees still working at home. They have been since the start of the pandemic. Odds are, they’ve been loving it. However, some don’t. So, Ford introduced their hybrid return-to-work program to meet both camps in the middle. Under it, the plan, well, plans to offer employees some flexibility in how they spend their workweek.

Of course, that all came to a halt this week. Ford says it feels it’s best for most of their nonmanufacturing employees to stay home as cases spike due to the Delta Variant and low vaccination rates. As things sit right now, Ford says it is going to reevaluate as needed. If all goes well, employees can expect to be working on the brand’s hybrid schedule starting in January of 2022.

Turns out, pandemics are bad for business

The Blue Oval logo outside the company's Michigan headquarters
Kind of ominous-looking, isn’t it? Jeff Kowalsky via Getty Images

With that out of the way, let’s talk about what that means for the good folks working at Ford, and the company as a whole. Ford saw a massive dip in its stock price in March and April last year as the company had to stop production due to the virus. Then, shares were worth around $4.00. However, things have rebounded, and presently shares are worth right around $14.00. So, clearly, things have rebounded despite numerous Covid and non-covid related delays.

Thankfully, this latest round of delays likely won’t heavily affect production. Remember, the employees we’re talking about aren’t the ones building the cars. Those people are around 130,000 strong and already back at work. That said, if cases continue to rise, we can be sure to see the limiting of production as Ford attempts to keep Covid cases in their ranks down.

How much longer can the Blue Oval keep this up?

The Ford logo on a white sign outside a dealership
The industry has been hit hard by the pandemic | Horst Galuschka via Getty Images

And that begs another question, asked above. Is all this on-again-off-again work hurting Ford? The stock market says no, but we’ll have to see what happens as semiconductor shortages ease. Frankly, as long as those in-factory employees are able to remain at work safely, Ford will be just fine. It’s also relatively easy for Ford to keep those people in the factory. Mandatory vaccination requirements are part of an emerging norm, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Ford institute a policy requiring vaccinations. For now, at least, your Bronco should be getting built sometime soon.

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