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Agencies consider the office of the future
Going back to the office is on everyone’s minds as vaccination rates rise.
But while agencies and media companies reimagine workspaces with shared desks, expanded meeting space, and touchless services, a sizable portion of people are likely to keep working partially if not entirely at home.
That poses a messy issue for companies that will have to accommodate hybrid workforces to make sure remote people don’t get left out and teams keep working smoothly, to say nothing of addressing burnout, Lindsay Rittenhouse reported.
From her story:
[WPP CEO Mark] Read said 5% to 10% of employees have gone back to most of WPP’s offices and expects more to return this summer, though there is no set date or mandate for reopening. He said WPP is figuring out how to safely reopen its global offices as well as how to “embrace the flexible ways of working we learned in the pandemic.”
Read said the holding company of agencies like Ogilvy, VMLY&R, and Wunderman Thompson would adopt a hybrid model, with offices being reserved for collaborative work and employees handling other solo tasks remotely.
He’s also mindful WPP will have to train managers to ensure all employees have the same opportunities to avoid excluding people who are remote.
Tanya Dua got her hands on recent TikTok decks that reveal new stats on the red-hot video app’s usership and shopping proclivities.
They’re part of a pitch to get advertisers to spend more on the app, using new commerce-style ad formats, as its usage and online shopping have boomed during lockdown.
“TikTok is at a tipping point,” Jon Severson, the vice president and director of paid social at Mediahub, told Tanya. “It’s no longer just a novelty for brands to maybe try but is trying to become something that can drive incremental returns and business outcomes.”
Business Insider has been tracking all these trends at some of the largest PR firms including Edelman, Weber Shandwick, and Sard Verbinnen, and rounded up our coverage, including the hot practice areas that are boosting firms’ revenue, how to get hired, and compensation.
Below are resources to guide people looking to learn about the industry, grow their existing PR businesses, or break into the field.
Firms are gearing up to take share from other industries
Some firms are also gearing up to take market share from advertising and management consulting companies, arguing that they can help clients deal with crises and promote brands while people may not be receptive to traditional advertising.
Among the most aggressive in this area is Edelman, which has built a 600-person staff of creatives including adland vets like Leo Burnett’s Judy John and McCann’s Lee Maicon to expand into advertising services.
There are bound to be more such clashes as companies wrestle with the need for in-person work with providing a safe office environment.
From Lindsay’s piece:
Sources said Zimmerman HR and at least in one case, president Ronnie Haligman, started calling them individually last week, first asking how they felt working remotely. The employees said they responded that they were happy working from home.
But while there was no explicit mandate to return, the employees said the execs told them they needed to come back, explaining that the company was having financial troubles due to employees being less productive while remote, and citing the loss of business to remote work.
One employee said an HR executive told them last week that there would be layoffs if employees didn’t return and that while it wouldn’t be mandated, it would be “highly recommended for me to go back to the office on Monday.” “They are bullies,” this person said. “I am so disappointed.”
Steven Perlberg reports on another flareup between journalists and their bosses over productivity demands. At Fortune, staffers walked off to protest traffic quotas. Steven reports:
Like many publishers, Fortune’s lucrative live events business has come to a halt. Fortune launched a paywall in early 2020 shortly before the pandemic took hold, but staffers said it has more recently focused on chasing web traffic.
With that strategy came byline counts and traffic goals beginning last year that have faced internal resistance. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune’s union secretary and a healthcare reporter, said he is responsible for producing 250 stories and 4.1 million pageviews this year.
Mukherjee said those targets are unrealistic and not tied to good journalism. “It almost feels like you have to put a down payment in order to do your actual job,” he said.
At The New Yorker, unionized staff walked out over pay issues. With a recent uptick in newsrooms unionizing, there’s probably more friction like this to come.
Apple is about to make big privacy changes requiring app developers, like Facebook, to ask users for permission to track them around the web to zap them with targeted ads.
But in China, some of the tech giants are testing a workaround, presenting a big test for Apple, Lara O’Reilly reports.
Apple maintained it will boot any apps that violate its policy. But all eyes will be on Apple to see if it holds firm to its view that privacy is a “fundamental human right” or make an exception for China, a crucial market for the company.