- Omnicom asked its employees around the world to work remotely as the coronavirus outbreak spreads.
- The other four major advertising holding companies Publicis, IPG, Dentsu, and WPP made similar policy changes earlier this week.
- Some Omnicom employees expressed frustration with a perceived delay in the company's response to the pandemic.
- Click here for more BI Prime stories.
Omnicom Group joined the other major advertising holding companies — WPP, Publicis, IPG, and Dentsu — in asking most of its employees to work remotely for the immediate future starting March 16 as the coronavirus disrupts businesses and governments around the world.
In an internal memo sent March 15, chairman and CEO John Wren wrote that all those people except "essential staff" should work outside Omnicom offices, which will remain open.
The full memo is below.
2020欧洲杯小组赛The move came days or hours after the other major advertising holding companies made similar announcements.
2020欧洲杯小组赛Omnicom is the second biggest ad holding company by revenue and employs about 70,000 worldwide.
Omnicom employees described internal frustration as the outbreak spread
Three Omnicom employees who are known to Business Insider but spoke on condition of anonymity to protect their jobs expressed frustration with a perceived delay by the company in reacting to the virus.
2020欧洲杯小组赛On Friday, various Omnicom agencies advised employees to stagger commute times to avoid rush hour and adjust schedules so that no more than 50% of staff would be in an office at any given time.
2020欧洲杯小组赛But one employee said this led to some tension between company leadership and heads of local offices. A , purportedly written by an Omnicom Media Group employee, called on the company to mandate office closings, sick days, and an overall travel ban.
A second employee at another Omnicom agency called the company's response "too incrementally slow."
Other major holding companies have told employees to work remotely
All five major holding companies have now told the majority of their employees to work remotely if possible to minimize the risk of coronavirus infection.
According to an internal memo obtained by Business Insider, Publicis Groupe told all staff in North America to come into the office only when absolutely necessary starting Thursday morning; a spokesperson said that policy applied globally. IPG sent out a similar memo on Friday2020欧洲杯小组赛, and WPP .
A senior executive at Dentsu who spoke to Business Insider on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the matter confirmed that all employees were told on March 13 to begin working remotely. A spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
John Wren's full memo is below.
A Message from John Wren
March 15, 2020
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.
Do you have a personal experience with the coronavirus you'd like to share? Or a tip on how your town or community is handling the pandemic? Please email email@example.com and tell us your story.
Get the latest coronavirus business & economic impact analysis from Business Insider Intelligence on how COVID-19 is affecting industries.