It is no secret that the COVID pandemic has transformed various companies over the last year, forcing the hands of employers to make concessions regarding the location that employees get their work done. Ford Motor Co. is no different! In the last year, significant efforts have been made to ensure that the unpredictable rules around COVID will continue to be met with options.
While the goal remains to bring employees back into the corporate office, the realistic view of the situation pushes executives to plan for an ongoing scenario where many employees continue to work from their home offices. Measures such as a check-in app and ambient sensors await the returning staff while Ford doubles down efforts to equip homes with everything needed to be an office away from the office.
To push the envelope further, Ford is gearing up (pun-intended) to more closely monitor employees in this environment regardless of where they are getting their work done. The following excerpt from the WSJ article details the plans :
“Using data analytics and artificial intelligence, the team is set to launch software that can anticipate workers’ needs, such as access to documents or conference-room reservations, by analyzing shared workflows and schedules. It will also automatically generate alerts if an employee—at home or in the office—is overworked or due for time off, Ms. Flores.”
While the article fails to expand heavily on this topic, it represents a key transformation in how their workforce will be assessed going forward. The software sounds like a soft start to what can be a revolution in the way that companies view their employees’ efforts. For example, the alerts that can notify management if an employee is overworked can easily prescribe to notify managers when an employee is underworked. This can be an issue if the right rail guards are not in place from the start. Depending on the software’s makeup, there could be room for employees to appear busy when their true productivity level remains low.
Although there are clear red flags to adding in an analytical AI system, the positives of doing so should not be diminished. The work from home experience has never been examined at this scale. In order to gain some sense of accountability in the home, workers may benefit from having new grading system that goes beyond the formally socialized version of review. Finding a way to measure in a way that mirrors what is available for in-office workers will be crucial