Detroit Three: Remote Work Goes Into Effect in U.S., Unless You’re Working the Line

The domestic auto industry is quickly shifting into self-isolation mode as best it can, knowing full well that assembly plants can’t churn out shiny new automobiles with line workers sitting in their living rooms.

As North America moves into a new phase of the emerging pandemic, automakers are taking precautionary measures, all the while wondering how long the lights will stay on.

As of Friday morning, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors have told salaried workers to work from home, effective Monday morning. Automotive News and journo Michael Martinez report that the Detroit Three are bringing measures already in place overseas to their home base.

“Clearly we are now moving beyond regional hotspots and into planning for how this will impact every area of our business across the world,” said FCA CEO Mike Manley in a letter to staff. Manley calls the effort “Smart Working,” claiming it’s already in effect at FCA offices in China, Korea, Japan, and Italy.

Manley said he plans to issue weekly updates on the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on FCA’s operations.

Obviously, smart working can only go so far. Ford CEO Jim Hackett told employees that those working outside of assembly operations, parts distribution, and certain sales positions are to deliver their labor remotely for the foreseeable future. It goes without saying that the same stipulations affect Ford and GM.

Starting weeks ago, automakers began restricting non-essential global travel among staff — a policy that will continue in place, with some caveats. We told you earlier this week that FCA locations in the U.S. would become off-limits to visitors unless cleared in advance by a higher authority.

a version of this article first appeared on TTAC