Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun Addresses ‘Second Phase of Crisis’ in ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ Message

By Erik Oster Comment

Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun addressed the holding company in a weekly video released yesterday.

He didn’t mention the series of layoffs across some Publicis Groupe agencies in the U.S. last week, which were handled at the individual agency level, or to what degree further cost-cutting measures would be necessary.

Instead, Sadoun used the global address to focus on “the second phase of this crisis,” as governments around the world begin to ease lockdown restrictions. He assured Publicis Groupe employees that the holding company will continue to make their safety its top priority. To that end, he explained that Publicis Groupe is continuing to ask employees to work from home “as much as possible,” even in cities and countries that are reopening businesses.

“Honestly, there is so much uncertainty at the moment that we don’t want to take any risk with your health,” Sadoun said.

Acknowledging what employees are missing about office culture, he adds that they are lucky to be in industry where working from home is possible and have a “individual responsibility … to stay safe” as well as a “collective responsibility” to stop the spread of the virus by “limiting the number of people we are in contact with and reducing pressure on public services” such as mass transportation.

How Publicis Groupe agencies approach the prospect of gradually and safely reopening will vary depending on local context and guidance, with country leadership teams determining measures and policies specific to their offices.

Sadoun cited France as an example. While lockdown measures end in the country today, Publicis Groupe offices in Paris will remain closed for the next two weeks.

Emphasizing the importance of staying home whenever possible, Sadoun acknowledged that as restrictions lift certain employees may find they need to work from offices. He explained that in some locales, Publicis Groupe is exploring opening just one office per city, with strict protective measures in place. These offices will open for “exceptional access” such as technical support and “key client meetings,” as well as those who “just can’t stay at home any longer and need a safe place to work,” Sadoun explained.

Publicis Groupe is also examining how it will work in the future, Sadoun said, and has assembled a task force to address the issue. According to a survey sent out by the holding company, 90% of Publicis Groupe employees want to work differently than before the coronavirus pandemic. Following a full assessment of the survey and conclusions drawn by the task force, Sadoun explained Publicis Groupe will provide a “clear roadmap” to employees on how work processes will change going forward.

As should come as no surprise, “Marcel will have an important role to play,” Sadoun said, announcing that the platform will roll out across Europe after being adopted by 85% of employees in the U.S. following its accelerated American rollout last month.

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