30,000 Ford Employees Will Permanently Work From Home; 50% Global Employees Not Coming To Office!
Ford is on track to fully embrace the hybrid work model nearly every company on Earth has had to adopt in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Ford will be allowing 30,000 salaried office staff to move operations completely to their homes, having to drop in to the office only for meetings and team building activities.
This is not applicable to factory workers.
One year on, even as the pandemic shows signs of slowing (though not in India), companies will not be doing away with the work from home (WFH) policy in a bid to resume business as pre-Pandemic normal.
Taking Care of Employees
Workers benefit from no longer giving away precious time for commute to and from work along with freedom to work in a comfortable environment with family and pets around.
Companies are now having to make accommodations given the new normals of WFH, telecommuting, virtual meetings and employees’ freedom of choice between a physical workspace versus the home space.
As workplace design is seeing a shift on a regular basis in the new reality, real estate costs can be expected to dip given the fewer number of reporting employees.
The standout disadvantage of WFH is not being able to meet peers and socialise.
New hires are especially hit as they miss out on in-person orientations, guidance from seniors and other onboarding activities that familiarise the new employee with their work environment.
Those who depend on networking and connections to advance their careers certainly feel the brunt of the new age work model.
Women have expressed unique challenges such as having to burden all domestic responsibilities along with child care, hospitality for guests and care for older family members in a joint household.
Being able to step out for work provides some comfort in the face of such pressures, along with being able to focus solely on their career without constantly having familial obligations at the back of the mind.
Monotony and boredom which comes from days blending into each other as all activities, social and professional, are now conducted under a single roof is another disadvantage of WFH.
While the obvious blessing at the moment of a WFH model is safety of workers from the contagion, there are plenty of advantages that will persist even after getting vaccinated.
WFH might be an obvious work mode of choice for introverts but even extroverts are seeing the merits of the model.
They appreciate no longer having to commute, being able to exercise in the afternoon, having dinners early and not having to dread a return to work life on Sundays.
The scrapping of commuting by car in which employees spend a handful of unpaid hours per day also has positive environmental consequences since fuel and carbon emissions will see a drastic fall.
Employers also benefit from cutting costs on office space rentals, maintenance of office equipment and amenities such as cafeterias, janitors and custodians for cleaning, etc. This cost cutting improves a firm’s profitability prospects.
Many organisations have also reported not just the same level of productivity as in physical offices but even more as employees work from home. They have been observed to work harder at home, subverting expectations.
Important Social Consequences
The stigma of people wanting to work within the comforts of their home or those who report to office strictly for work and wish to log out exactly when they’re scheduled can finally see a breakdown. This is employee empowerment.
Ultimately it must be remembered that the ability to WFH is a privilege that is denied to blue collar/ factory/ hourly wage / retail/ frontline workers, who are still expected to report in physically because the services they render cannot be done from home and their employers scarcely reward them commensurately beyond overtime bonuses and meals.