Automaker Stellantis expects employees to work remotely most of the time under new plan

  • Stellantis is launching a hybrid work initiative called the "New Era of Agility."
  • Under the plan, the automaker anticipates salaried employees blending remote and in-office work to average % remote and 30% on-site.
  • The decision follows similar announcements from General Motors and Ford regarding employees returning to offices.

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DETROIT — When employees of Fiat Chrysler, now Stellantis, make their expected returns later this year to offices, they will do so with a new company and a more flexible work schedule.

The automaker is launching a hybrid work initiative called the "New Era of Agility." The goal is to have a majority of the company's salaried employees work remotely most of the time. That includes 17,000 employees in North America, a majority of whom work near Detroit, Shannon Dziuda, lead of human resources special projects for Stellantis North America, told CNBC.

"We want the decision to come into a facility to be intentional and based on what works best for individuals and the company, and supports the health and wellbeing of the team," she said during an interview on Friday.

Under the plan, the company anticipates employees blending remote and in-office work to average 70% remote and 30% on-site, she said. The split is a guideline, not a mandate, according to Dziuda. It does not include hourly manufacturing workers or salaried employees who need to be physically present in labs or elsewhere to do their jobs.

The decision to create such a program comes after the company received feedback from employees, many of whom have been working remotely for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Dziuda. It follows similar announcements from General Motors and Ford Motor. However, GM and Ford did not release percentage guidelines.

Stellantis is planning a four-to-six-week pilot of the program for about 450 employees starting in October at the company's North American headquarters in Auburn Hills, . Following it, Dziuda said, Stellantis will make modifications to work areas and offices to meet the expected needs of all employees operating on the new hybrid scheduling.

"The pilot will tell us what additional changes we may need to make to the space, both from a physical or digital perspective," she said.

The schedule for employees returning to offices will be based on local and state ordinances, but Dziuda said Stellantis is currently planning to begin bringing them back toward the end of 2021 and into early next year.

About 15,000 people work at the North America headquarters and tech center, including 12,000 salaried employees. About 10% are currently at the facility because their jobs require them to be in the buildings.

Stellantis, like other companies, believes its flexible work policy will help recruit new employees.

"We want to be able to retain our top talent and attract new top talent and diverse talent," Dziuda said. "As we know, a diverse culture results in better innovation."

According to a recent Prudential survey of 2,000 adults who have been able to work from home during the pandemic, 87% want the ability to continue doing so after the risks of the coronavirus subside.

Stellantis was formed through a $52 billion merger between Fiat Chrysler and French automaker PSA Groupe in January. Its CEO is Carlos Tavares, former CEO of PSA. Its chairman is John Elkann, who held the same position with Fiat Chrysler and is a descendant of the founder of Italian automaker Fiat.

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