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As more people become eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, ad agencies are gradually planning for a return to office.
Some companies are adopting hybrid work models, prompting them to rethink their office space and reduce real estate. They’re considering permanent remote workers and burnout in their plans, aware of the mental toll longer hours have had on staff and the loss of connection between teams when employees work from home.
While their plans may vary, and most still don’t have a set date to return, many agencies realize the post-pandemic workplace will be fundamentally changed.
“We’ll never go back to what we did before,” WPP CEO Mark Read said. “By the time we go back to normal, we will forget what normal looked like.”
Insider spoke to seven advertising companies who detailed their return-to-office plans.
WPP is rethinking ‘normal’ and saving millions
WPP CFO John Rogers said in December the company planned to shed 15% to 20% of its real estate and build 60 global campuses with more meeting space, collaboration space, and “much less people sitting behind desks responding to emails.”
“People are ready to come back to the office,” CEO Mark Read said. “But it’s much easier to ask 100,000 people to work from home over a weekend. You just have to deal with what’s in front of you.”
Read said 5% to 10% of employees have gone back to most of WPP’s offices and expects more to return this summer, though there is no set date or mandate for reopening. He said WPP is figuring out how to safely reopen its global offices as well as how to “embrace the flexible ways of working we learned in the pandemic.”
Read said the holding company of agencies like Ogilvy, VMLY&R, and Wunderman Thompson would adopt a hybrid model, with offices being reserved for collaborative …read more