In an effort to protect its 70,000+ employees from the global Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, holding company Omnicom which includes DDB, BBDO and TBWA, has issued a companywide work-at-home policy except for “essential staff.”
The update followed a revision late last week implementing staggered work-in-office/work-from-home days to reduce the amount of people working in offices by about half the normal levels.
Sunday’s Omnicom update was communicated to the troops in a message from CEO John Wren:
“These are uncertain times, and we want to do our part to help limit or slow the transmission of COVID-19 while maintaining business continuity and helping our clients navigate this challenging environment.
At this stage, we feel a work-from-home policy is the right approach for our people. Starting March 16th, we are asking for the support of our agency leaders to make certain our people work remotely and only essential staff go into the office. If you have not done so already, please ensure in the next day or so that you collect what you need to work from home. In addition, we are encouraging all of you to follow the guidance of national, local and city regulatory authorities.
For those that do go into an office, please maintain the recommended social distance. We are also working with facilities management to add enhanced cleaning in our offices.
We want to reiterate — please do not come into the office if you are sick or have flu-like symptoms or if a family member you live with or roommate is sick or has symptoms. Also, please do not come into the office if you or someone you live with has a higher risk of becoming very sick from COVID-19. Lastly, if you are an essential employee and don’t feel comfortable coming into the office, please speak with your supervisor. We have instructed them to accommodate your needs. And we will continue to keep all travel restrictions in place.
We are very pleased to see marked improvements in China and Singapore with our teams starting to get back to business as usual. Our people there did a great job in keeping their businesses functioning during the past couple of months. I want to thank them and all of you for your efforts now and what we know you will do in the weeks to come.
Most important, please take the necessary precautions to keep yourself, family, friends and clients healthy and safe.
We will continue to update you on our measures as events evolve in order to support you in every way we can.”
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This latest update follows a Change.org petition by an anonymous filer demanding that all Omnicom “agency offices be closed, that every single employee be required to work from home and that all employee travel — domestic and international — be firmly prohibited once and for all.”
Other holding companies, such as Publicis, WPP and IPG, had already adjusted work policies, leaving Omnicom the last to follow suit. For example, IPG is encouraging people to work from home if they can. WPP is leaving it up to staff, who may work at home if they chose.
Omnicom had already been restricting travel for a while.
Late Sunday, the Change.org petition was updated, noting the revised policy and proclaiming: “Victory! OMC Mandates Immediate WFH Policy. A little pressure goes a long way!” The petition was endorsed by 82 supporters.