Ford Motor Company on Monday informed its employees that it will delay its hybrid plan of returning to offices until March of next year due to the uncertainty surrounding the omicron coronavirus variant.
In a statement obtained by CNBC that was sent out to employees, Ford said, "The state of COVID-19 virus remains fluid, and despite the success of our ongoing safety protocols and increased vaccination rates, we are shifting the start date of the hybrid work model to March."
The first omicron cases in the U.S. were detected last week. The strain has since been found in at least 15 U.S. states, including Michigan, where Ford is headquartered.
As CNBC noted, Ford's plans of returning to the office have already been delayed twice so far. In August, the automaker pushed back its plans of reopening offices from October to January due to the delta variant, which is still the dominant strain in the U.S.
“The state of the COVID-19 virus remains very fluid and therefore we are adjusting the start of our hybrid work arrangement to no earlier than January 2022,” the company said at the time.
Numerous U.S. companies have had to change their reopening plans as the pandemic drags on and new variants crop up.
In August, as Ford pushed back its reopening plans, Google announced it would be delaying its mandatory return to the offices until January. However, CNBC reported last week that these plans have changed as well.
Google’s VP of global security Chris Rackow reportedly said in an email that the company would wait until 2022 to assess whether or not offices can return to a “stable, long-term working environment.”