When non-site-dependent workers do return, they'll have the chance to adopt a new hybrid work model, which Ford outlined this year, that would allow them to go into offices only when necessary. Ford said it was redesigning its office space to better accommodate this new way of working, with an emphasis on more collaborative spaces and team areas.
"The nature of the work or project will guide arrangements that employees and their people leaders decide on in collaboration," Ford said in a statement. "For example, a team may decide to come into the office two times per week for a project that needs face-to-face collaboration, while working remote the other days, or there may be a sprint where employees are needed on-site for one full week, then work from home the rest of the month. Coming on-site will be for the purpose of collaborative work."
The company on Wednesday also informed workers of a new arrangement where it will allow non-site-dependent employees to work for up to 30 days per year from an alternate location within their country of employment. That would allow employees with a vacation home or who were visiting family out-of-state to continue working with no expectation to be on-site at a Ford facility.
While there was technically nothing stopping workers from doing this in the past, a Ford spokesman said the company felt it was important to make it an official policy.
Meanwhile, Kiersten Robinson, Ford's chief people and employee experience officer, said the company has not yet decided whether to join employers and government agencies requiring workers to get coronavirus vaccinations.
Ford has required vaccinations for employees who travel internationally for work. Robinson said the company is still assessing whether a broader mandate is appropriate, how employees would respond and how a vaccine requirement would be adapted to different countries.
"We want to understand the sentiment of employees. What's standing the way of them getting vaccinated voluntarily," Robinson said. Employee views -- and the access Ford workers have to vaccines -- vary around the world, she said. "It's simplistic to have a one-sized fits all mandate."
Reuters contributed to this report.