Hundreds of Deere employees have been working from home since early in 2020. Spokeswoman Jen Hartmann says the company gives them a lot of flexibility to manage their work, but it’s time to plan for a return to the office.
“We can bring in additional employees, 10, 15, 20-percent at a time,” Hartmann says. “Of course, Deere is in so many states and locations globally and has to look to their local guidelines, but we are looking at that phased approach starting here in the spring.”
Many Deere factories were only shut down for a short time by COVID-19, if at all. She says the company has worked to make sure customers and dealers have the parts and services they need when they need them. Deere held its first -virtual- annual meeting with shareholders on Wednesday, during which chairman and CEO John May made remarks about how “consequential” the past year has been for the 184-year-old company.
“For those of us who work for Deere, it’s one we feel tremendous pride in, particularly when we think about just how critical the work is that so many of our customers do,” Hartmann says. “I appreciated John’s expression of gratitude to the dealers and employees and customers.”
During the meeting, Deere announced its first-quarter earnings and an 18% increase in the dividend, rising from 76 to 90-cents-per-share.
(By Michelle O’Neill, WVIK, Rock Island)