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General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler announce work-from-home plans

The morning commute is starting to look much different due to the coronavirus outbreak increasing the number of employers, now including Detroit automakers, directing or allowing employees to work from home.

General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have all announced or expanded some form of remote work program in recent days as Michigan state and public health officials push social distancing and other steps to slow the spread of Covid-19.

The work-from-home guidelines apply to employees who aren’t required to work assembly lines and in other similar assignments. 

GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra and Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett both sent letters Friday with work-from-home directives beginning Monday. FCA CEO Mike Manley sent a letter Thursday that the company’s remote work program, called “Smart Working,” is available to all employees.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra speaks to reporters after a meeting with Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, to discuss GM's announcement it would stop making the Chevy Cruze at its Lordstown, Ohio, plant, part of a massive restructuring for the automaker, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018.

Ford Motor Company announced Friday that, starting Monday, its global workforce –except those in business-critical roles that cannot be done away from Ford facilities  –will be working remotely until further notice. China operations also are not included in the work-remote mandate.

On Thursday, the company confirmed it was testing its computer systems to allow access and capacity. When asked if Ford would rotate teams to accommodate server capacity issues, spokesman T.R. Reid said the company had transitioned in recent weeks and didn’t anticipate any issues.

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