The Australian advertising industry has left the office to work remotely to avoid the coronavirus.
The move, widespread across the industry, is precautionary with no reported cases of COVID-19 in agencies.
The remote working model follows similar moves in China where working from home limited the spread of the virus but still allowed normal commercial and creative schedules.
Agencies at WPP, Omnicom, IPG Mediabrands, M&C Saatchi and Dentsu in Australia have confirmed that staff would work from home starting this week. Publicis Groupe is expected to make an announcement shortly.
John Wren, the global CEO of Omnicom, in a note to staff: "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."
Mark Read, the global CEO of WPP, the world's biggest advertising company with 130,000 employees: "The next few months will be tough, but I have every confidence in our ability to come through this situation together."
Dentsu Aegis Network ANZ: “Our primary focus is, and will continue to be, the health and safety of our people and clients. As a business, we have decided to take proactive steps by recommending that our people work from home until the end of March. This is purely a precautionary measure and we will continue to monitor the situation daily.”
M&C Saatchi: "As the spread of the COVID-19 virus increases and the impact is more broadly felt, M&C Saatchi has taken the decision to close all six offices in Australia and New Zealand as of Wednesday, March 18. Our priority is the wellbeing of our staff. And as good corporate citizens, we must also consider what we can do to minimise the spread and its impact on our country's health service. We will reassess our approach on Friday, March 27."
The Special Group has a formal work from home trial. "Everything is set up for us to implement this on an ongoing basis," says CEO and co-founder Lindsey Evans.
JCDecaux ANZ CEO Steve O'Connor: "JCDecaux has taken the precautionary measure of closing all its Australian and New Zealand offices other than those attached to field or print operations, until Monday 30 March. In those offices that will remain open we have instigated specific risk mitigation practices. The business is still operating, with staff working from home."
CHE Proximity: "Our Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney staff will relocate to their homes in a step to stem the spread of COVID-19 and reduce pressure on our health system. Otherwise, it’s business as usual – our policies and tech investments mean we can move to this model without any loss of output."
DDB: "Like many other businesses, DDB Group Australia has transitioned to operating remotely. It is business as usual. Nothing is on hold. If you are due to meet with us, we will be in touch to discuss logistics imminently. We are doing our part to protect our people and clients, their family and friends, and the broader community. We’re all in this together and very much here to help with the communication that will likely be required for your business."
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