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GM doesn't expect workers to return to offices through the end of June

Detroit — It will be at least the end of next June until most office workers at General Motors Co. return to their workplaces. The memo to white-collar workers that went out Friday is one of the most specific directives yet from a U.S. company that employees should expect to work from home into next summer.

It means GM's office workers will have been away from their workplaces more than 15 months since the coronavirus began its rapid spread in the United States in March. 

GM employees at the Renaissance Center headquarters and at other offices should expect to work from home at least through the end of June.

"Our current outlook is to continue operating as we are today until June 30, 2021," said the communication obtained by The Detroit News that was signed by Kim Brycz, senior vice president of global human resources, and Dane Parker, chief sustainability officer. "If new information warrants us changing our outlook and we have the opportunity to return to the workplace sooner, we will communicate quickly."

The notice comes as companies across all industries — from DTE Energy Co., to Rocket Companies Inc., to Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles — grapple with when to send employees back to the office as the pandemic shows few signs of subsiding.

Across the country, other major corporations are also extending their remote work policies.

Google LLC and Facebook Inc. both plan to keep employees working from home through next July. Amazon.com has told its workers it will be at least January before they return.

Ford has told its 30,000 U.S. salaried employees who are working remotely that they won't be expected to return until at least January, guidance it offered so workers could plan for the fall and return to school, spokeswoman Marisa Bradley said. The Dearborn automaker previously surveyed its virtual workforce and found that nearly 75% preferred to continue working from home for the remainder of 2020. Ford will re-evaluate closer to the end of the year.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles hasn't given specific dates. The automaker has only said: "Our team that has the ability to work remotely will continue to do so, until they hear directly from their manager. All employees who must be physically present to perform their jobs are continuing to report to their work sites where we have implemented robust multi-layered processes to ensure their health and safety."

Auto manufacturing plants restarted in mid-May after an eight-week shutdown.

Mortgage lending giant Rocket Companies has said that nearly its entire 20,000-member workforce — the majority of whom are normally based in downtown Detroit — is working remotely right now and will continue working that way through at least January.

"Rocket Companies had a very strong second quarter, thanks to our team members' hard work and dedication to our clients, as well as the incredibly scalable mortgage origination platform that allowed us to meet unprecedented demand," said CEO Jay Farner in a statement this week when the company released its financial results for the second quarter, for the first time as a public company. 

"As a result, we were able to help more clients this quarter than any other in our 35-year history — all while more than 98% of our team members worked safely from their homes." 

DTE Energy, a Detroit-based energy company with more than 3 million customers in Michigan, hasn't provided a return-to-the-office date for employees working from home. Half of DTE's 10,000-member workforce has worked home since March and will continue to do so until COVID-19 is no longer a danger, unless there's a reason an employee cannot perform the job at home, spokesman Dan Miner said. 

khall@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @bykaleahall

jgrzelewski@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @JGrzelewsk