Internal Memo: IPG CEO Michael Roth Issues Updated Work From Home Policy

By Erik Oster Comment

With the global coronavirus pandemic holding companies have issued evolving policies around travel and working from home, with major shifts along the way. The latest such changes include IPG updating its work from home policy, encouraging employees in markets hit hardest by COVID-19 who can work from home to do so.

IPG chairman and CEO Michael Roth announced the news today in an internal memo obtained by AgencySpy, in which he stated the holding company has “successfully conducted working form home tests.”

In the memo, Roth states that IPG’s “priority remains the safety and well-being of our people, partners and clients” and announces that “we are encouraging our employees in markets where the COVID-19 virus is spreading, notably in North America and several European markets, who can work from home to talk with their managers about doing so, in order to ensure your well-being and that of your community.”

At the same time, he reiterates that employees “must continue to deliver on client and business responsibilities, whether in the office or working remotely, as many of our colleagues in Asia have been doing successfully for some time now.”

He also reiterates that IPG and its companies’ offices remain open for business, and the holding company is asking regional leadership to follow local guidance and institute appropriate logistical plans, such as staggered work schedules to lower population density. IPG has also requested a limit on “non-essential travel and in-person meetings that involve more than ten people, if the meeting can instead be conducted via video conference or other means.”

Employees that are sick or have recently not felt well are advised to seek immediate medical attention and to avoid coming into the office and New York employees are given a hotline with information about the virus they can call.

Roth places extra importance on reminding employees to “continue to act in a way that is consistent with IPG’s values, focusing on the facts of the virus rather than fears about particular groups of people or casting blame on particular cultures or nationalities.”

He closes by asking that employees check IPG’s COVID-19 watch page regularly.

Here is the memo in full:

To All Employees:

With the constantly evolving situation surrounding COVID-19, we are providing you with an update on our work from home policy.

Our major business units have successfully conducted working remotely tests. And our priority remains the safety and well-being of our people, partners and clients. As such, we are encouraging our employees in markets whe—re the COVID-19 virus is spreading, notably in North America and several European markets, who can work from home to talk with their managers about doing so, in order to ensure your well-being and that of your community. Of course, it’s also a given that our people must continue to deliver on client and business responsibilities, whether in the office or working remotely, as many of oujr colleagues in Asia have been doing successfully for some time now.

We want to reiterate that IPG, our companies and all our offices are staying open for business. We are asking regional leadership to follow local guidance and communicate logistical plans to our people — like staggered work schedules — so that offices remain open, but with lower population density.

If your role necessitates that you come into the office, you should talk with your manager to develop a working plan that addresses any concerns you may have, or reach out to your local HR representative.

We have asked all IPG agencies to limit non-essential travel and in-person meetings that involve more than ten people, if the meeting can instead be conducted via video conference or other means. In addition, if you are sick or have recently note felt well, please seek medical attention immediately and do not come into the office. For our New York area employees, there is a new hotline with information about COVID-19, including how to be tested: +1 888-364-3065.

Most important, we want to ensure that all of us continue to act in a way that is consistent with IPG’s values, focusing on the facts of the virus rather than fears about particular groups of people or casting blame on particular culture or nationalities. We encourage everyone to refer to the CDC’s guidance on stigma and resilience.

We appreciate all of your cooperation and continued hard work and focus during this especially challenging time.

In the interim, please check our COVID-19 watch page regularly, and please let IPG, your manager or your HR lead know if you have any questions.

Michael Roth
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, IPG

Dentsu Aegis Network also confirmed that it would implement a work from home day tomorrow. It’s unclear at this time whether this may precipitate further actions or policy changes on the part of the holding company. Dentsu, Inc. headquarters in Tokyo remains closed, with all employees working remotely, following two employees testing positive for coronavirus.

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