Coronavirus outbreak has led Ford to tell its employees to work from home until further notice

jim hackett ford

  • Ford is sending nearly its entire global workforce into remote-mode amid a worsening COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Thus far, the automaker's hourly workers at its factories have stayed on the job.
  • The automaker's decision doesn't apply to China, where its says the COVID-19 situation is improving.
  • Ford's decision goes into effect Monday.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

In response to the worsening COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, on Friday, Ford instructed nearly all its global workforce, more than 50,000 people, to work remotely, beginning Monday.

"[W]e are announcing that much of our Ford workforce, including agency and purchased service people, in North America, South America, Europe and International Markets Group, will be asked to work remotely until further notice," CEO Jim Hackett wrote in an email shared with Business Insider.
"Exceptions will be only for roles that are 1) business-critical and 2) cannot be done effectively outside a Ford location - such as those working in manufacturing facilities, parts distribution centers and certain sales positions."

Hackett noted that the improving COVID-19 situation in China means that region has been excepted from the policy.

"In the short term, when you leave at the end of the day, please prepare to be away from the office by taking home your laptop computers, corporate mobile devices, chargers and any personal items you may need while you're working away from the office," Hackett wrote. "Those employees who need to continue coming to work in Ford facilities will be notified."

Ford's CEO articulates the COVID-19 protocol

Ford Motor World Headquarters is seen in Dearborn, Michigan, U.S., May 22, 2017.  REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Hourly workers at Ford's assembly plants are still on the job, as are workers at General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobile factories. Hackett also articulated Ford's policies in the event of a COVID-19 diagnosis for employees:
  • Direct anyone with a confirmed case of coronavirus to self-quarantine at home and continue to get medical attention until cleared to return to work by a physician.
  • Identify any others who had direct contact in the workplace with a colleague who has a confirmed case of the infection, instruct them to self-quarantine at home for 14 days and seek medical attention.
  • Identify employees who had close contact with anyone who was in direct contact with the affected employee and advise them to leave work and get advice from their local medical professional before returning, including watching for symptoms of the virus.
  • Close the specific facility where there was exposure to a confirmed coronavirus case for at least 24 hours so the building can be disinfected.

"Our top priority is keeping our employees, customers and other stakeholders safe while doing whatever is reasonable to keep Ford running," Hackett wrote. "So far, our global team has done an excellent job following guidelines established early on to do just that."

Earlier, Ford had restricted domestic and international travel for its employees.

On Friday, the company also announced that it was delaying the launch of its highly anticipated new Bronco SUV, scheduled for next week.

Get the latest Ford stock price here.