Internal Memo: Omnicom CEO John Wren on One-Year Remote Work Anniversary

By Erik Oster 

Last Thursday, Omnicom chairman, CEO John Wren sent a holding company-wide memo to employees at Omnicom and its agencies, which was shared with AgencySpy, commemorating the one-year anniversary of Omnicom moving to remote work on March 15, 2020 and inviting employee participation on how to approach a gradual return to office work.

Wren opened the memo by noting the anniversary and commenting on how at the time he couldn’t have imagined that the move to remote work due to the pandemic would last for a full year and expressing hope for the future with the rollout of vaccines. Calling the pandemic “all-consuming” and noting that it has affected everyone in one way or another, he referred to 2020 as “the most difficult year in Omnicom’s history” as well as one of the most challenging both on a personal and professional level due to both the pandemic and “the trauma of senseless acts of racism around the world.”

“I am inspired by how quickly our people adapted and embraced new ways of working,” he continued, noting that the quick pivot to remote work resulted in impactful work for clients which drove business results.” He added that clients “have expressed deep appreciation for how seamless working with our agencies remotely has been, and, in many cases, a deeper bond has formed.”


Wren hinted at an increased flexibility toward remote work at Omnicom agencies after pandemic-related restrictions are lifted, saying, “Moving forward, there will be lasting behavioral changes in the way we work, with our teams remaining more flexible, nimble and collaborative.”

He also commended agencies on not only helping clients navigate challenges from the pandemic but also doing their part to stop the spread of Covid-19 and highlighted the network’s recent vaccine campaigns for Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer.

Wren also commented on the holding company’s approach to addressing systemic racism, expressing his pride in Omnicom’s DEI measures, including its OPEN Leadership Team driving the implementation of OPEN 2.0, an action plan designed with the intention of achieving systemic equity throughout Omnicom. He also hinted that there is “much more to come” in regards to DEI initiatives from Omnicom.

Wren took the occasion to thank Omnicom employees for their hard work over the past year, crediting their hard work with getting the network to where it is today under difficult circumstances while claiming Omnicom is moving toward positive growth in 2021.

As the vaccine rolls out, accompanied by a hope for a return to relative normalcy, Wren said Omnicom’s leadership teams are gathering feedback from employees about what the next few months will entail as the network plans for an eventual return to office work.

“There’s no doubt there will be new ways of working and new habits formed, but we are thrilled of the possibility of being back together again in our offices, connecting in the safest way possible,” he added, while also noting that a vigilant approach to the virus remains important to stop outbreaks even as there is hope that “the end is in sight.”

He concluded by asking that employees follow local government policies, individual office policies and Omnicom’s guidance when returning to the office – linking to Omnicom’s “Returning to the Office Safely” policy which currently states that the network is currently planning for a Phase 3 Approach for full use of agency offices while noting that Phase 2 will end when all social distancing protocols have been lifted.

The document also stresses that Omnicom’s policy is to not force any employees to return to the office, stating: “No person will be required to return to the office if they are not comfortable doing so.”