Ford Motor Co recently announced that it would delay its plan to have employees return to work, pushing its hybrid work plan back to March as a result of the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, the company said that it had no plans to start a hybrid work plan before January. However, now Ford has revealed its plans to push back the beginning stages of its hybrid work plan, available for select employees in February and March.
The hybrid work plan will combine a combination of on-site and remote working. The workers involved with this new plan will include non-site-dependent employees. Plant workers, which are represented by the United Auto Workers, are not included in this new plan.
This new change comes amid recent news about the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Previously, many companies had intended to return to the office earlier this year, mainly in the fall, as COVID-19 cases slowed down and it looked like the country was coming out of the pandemic. However, then the Delta variant caused cases to surge around the country, and many plans to return to the office were halted.
While cases have subsided since, the Omicron variant of the virus may change this. According to the most recent data, Omicron is more contagious than the other variants. However, while some data seems to hint that the variant is less deadly than other variants, new data is still being obtained, so this may change in the future.
Ford has likely pushed back its plans to bring workers back to the office because of the Omicron variant. Google also recently announced that it would not bring employees back to work until January, at the earliest, because of this new variant.
While Ford already has safety measures implemented to help stop the spread of the virus, the company stated that they are simply pushing back the start date of their hybrid work plan because the pandemic continues to change and remains fluid.
This new announcement from Ford is one of the first business changes announced as the result of the Omicron variant. As data is still being collected about the variant, businesses are still learning what the best option is for them. Much like the beginning stages of the Delta variant, nobody quite knows what to do.
While the Omicron looks as if it is beginning to affect how businesses operate, the variant has yet to truly impact business activity. There is no data, yet, to suggest that the variant has affected how consumers spend their money, or how the economy grows. This may change in the coming weeks, especially if the variant continues to grow and spread around the country.
Some analysts do believe that the Omicron variant will impact how consumers spend money in December during the holiday season — though they still believe the country will experience economic growth for the fourth quarter as a whole. Upcoming data will likely reveal exactly how the Omicron variant has impacted how consumers have decided to spend their money.