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CEOs of the biggest ad holding companies including Omnicom and Dentsu say offices will reopen slowly and staffers won't be required to come back

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  • CEOs of top ad holding companies WPP, Omnicom, Publicis, IPG, Dentsu, and MDC Partners are starting to focus on bringing staff back to the office in September or October at the earliest.
  • Omnicom and Dentsu laid out detailed, three-step plans.
  • CEOs said people wouldn't be required to return if they're uncomfortable.
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The world's largest advertising holding companies have furloughed and laid off thousands of employees in the past nine weeks as clients like PepsiCo and AB InBev pause ad campaigns and cancel multi-million-dollar commitments.
Now, the holding companies are preparing for reopening their offices. The process will be slow — and there's no end date in sight.

CEOs are preparing for advertisers to resume spending

Some of the CEOs have been more visible during the crisis, sending all-staff memos every week.
Some have been blunt about forthcoming cuts, but most have struck an upbeat tone.
"Marketers are prepared to deliver one of the most sophisticated turnaround efforts we've ever seen," MDC Partners CEO Mark Penn wrote this week. He said MDC can deliver "outsized value" to clients by identifying consumers that will be "early re-adopters" as well as those whose newfound comfort at home "reflects a deeper change in society."
Publicis Groupe's Arthur Sadoun scheduled a Publicis-only substitute for the cancelled Cannes Lions awards show, saying employees "shouldn't be thinking about life after Covid, but life with Covid."

Companies are preparing for a slow return to the office

CEOs are outlining plans to return to the office, emphasizing employees won't be required to return if they're not comfortable doing so.
WPP CEO Mark Read said he doesn't expect significant numbers of employees to return to offices in London or New York before September or October.
Dentsu Aegis Network Americas CEO Jacki Kelley said Dentsu's reopening could begin on June 13, when New York State's extended "pause" order ends — but that she does not expect many employees to return by that date. She outlined a three-step approach for reopening:
  • 14 days after local governments end their official lockdowns, Dentsu offices will reopen to 20% of employees with mandatory social distancing. The company is working to determine who must be in the office, who can continue to work from home, and what protective gear and testing to require.
  • Seven days after the first phase begins, Dentsu will increase occupancy rates to 50% either by determining those who would most benefit from being in the office or introducing A/B teams to minimize occupancy.
  • After two weeks of the second phase, individual offices may open to all employees and clients with the approval of regional CEOs.
Omnicom issued a similar plan, with the third phase beginning after social distancing guidelines have been lifted.

Employees remain fearful

Three MDC Partners employees, all of whom are known to Business Insider but requested anonymity because they aren't authorized to discuss the matter, said Penn is letting his agency leaders oversee the process.
One executive said he doesn't foresee offices returning to full capacity until a COVID-19 vaccine is widely available. Another said agency and holding company leaders have not discussed any potential dates because many employees remain fearful.
"We will not be the first to [return], and we will return cautiously, and safely, and only when our people are ready," IPG CEO Michael Roth wrote in a May 15 memo.
Got more information about this story or another ad industry tip? Contact Patrick Coffee on Signal at (347) 563-7289, email at pcoffee@businessinsider.com or patrickcoffee@protonmail.com, or via Twitter DM @PatrickCoffee. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.
SEE ALSO: Leaked documents show advertising giant IPG doesn't know when furloughs will end and can't promise it will bring back affected staff to full employment
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* This article was originally published here 
https://www.businessinsider.com/how-the-6-top-ad-holding-companies-plan-return-work-2020-5
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