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Read the memo from ad giant IPG's CEO saying advertising will trail industries like retail and hospitality in re-opening offices

Michael Roth IPG Advertising Week
  • In an April 1 internal memo, IPG CEO Michael Roth wrote that agency employees "will not rush back to our offices" because they've proven that they can work remotely.
  • Roth wrote that advertising will lag and take lessons from industries like retail, hospitality, and manufacturing.
  • A source also said the ad holding company has abandoned plans that were reported by The Wall Street Journal to group staff by coronavirus risk level.
  • IPG's approach differs from rival Omnicom, which laid out guidelines for returning to the office earlier this week.
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Michael Roth, CEO of advertising holding company IPG, told employees in an April 1 all-staff memo that the company is in no rush to return to the office as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
He wrote that advertising will trail behind other industries like retail, hospitality, and manufacturing in coming back to work, because employees at IPG agencies like McCann and Weber Shandwick have proven that they can serve clients remotely. 
"It has become increasingly clear that it is more complex to re-open our offices than it was to close them," Roth wrote. "Our industry has the luxury of not having to return to the office immediately to be efficient and productive."
IPG's approach differs from rival Omnicom, which earlier this week laid out guidelines for employees returning to work.
WPP CEO Mark Read also recently said that US operations may follow the model set by offices in China, which began reopening in February and March but may never return to full capacity. 

IPG has abandoned plans to categorize employees by risk level

Roth also touched on the subject during the company's April 22 earnings call, telling investors that IPG's COVID-19 Steering Committee had begun to examine options like sending staffers back to work in shifts.
Today The Wall Street Journal reported that IPG considered placing all of its 22,000 US employees, nearly half of whom work in New York City, into three categories by risk level, with those who've tested positive for antibodies in the first group and particularly vulnerable employees such as seniors and pregnant women in the third and final group.
IPG is no longer considering that approach, said a company spokesman who added that the conversations in question took place several weeks ago.
The full memo is printed below.
What's next?
The work our people continue to produce for our clients inspires us, makes us smile, and achieves business goals. I hope all of us take pride in our company's ability to deliver such great work during such extraordinary times. 
This weekend I would like us all to reflect and think about what coming back to the office can look like. This topic seems to be at the top of every news story and everyone's mind, and I want to be clear: IPG and our people do not need to and will not rush back to our offices. We have proven without a doubt that we can accomplish the fundamentals of our work responsibilities and service clients with 95% of us working from home. Which means we can learn from watching how other industries such as retail, manufacturing and hospitality return physically to the workplace ahead of us.
As we said at the start of the crisis, this is a marathon, not a sprint. 
Much is being said about a possible "end of the beginning" of the pandemic, and many of us are excited to return to our more traditional workspaces. However, there is also a fair amount of uncertainty and anxiety accompanying thoughts of a return. IPG's COVID-19 steering committee continues to research and plan what a return to working in the office might look like. While the timing of such a return will be guided by local government and health officials, I can assure you that it will, first and foremost, be driven with the health and safety of our people absolutely top of mind.
One aspect is certain from the successful reopening of some of our Asian operations: we need to focus on reducing the number of employees in the workplace at any one time, as sufficient space for social distancing will be needed. We have tasked our leaders with beginning to think about what types of employees are critical for an in-office environment, how we can stagger teams, and who can just as easily work remotely. It's also crucial for each of us to consider our own feelings on this topic, so that when we do talk with a manager, we have a clear idea of what makes the most sense for our unique situation. Some issues to consider: will being in the office empower me to do my job better? How so? Will I feel safe commuting to work? Do I have childcare or family care or health issues that are factors in my ability to come back to the office?
It has become increasingly clear that it is more complex to re-open our offices than it was to close them. 
Many of us miss the camaraderie of working together in a shared space. I certainly do. But rest assured, when we once again have the green light to share a space with each other, it will be done methodically, it will look different, and it will only happen when we are certain that we can effectively protect our people. Our industry has the luxury of not having to return to the office immediately to be efficient and production. And for that, we are thankful. 
I hope that you are able to enjoy some downtime and connect with family and friends this weekend — bearing in mind social distance and wearing a mask, of course. Again, I thank you for all that you continue to do so well during these unprecedented times. 
Michael
SEE ALSO: 76% of marketers plan to slash their advertising budgets this year, and ad holding companies could bear the brunt of the cuts
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* This article was originally published here Press Release Distribution

Source - https://www.businessinsider.com/prime?module=article&area=summary

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