Coronavirus crisis in adland: More advertising agencies asking staff to work from home

Coronavirus crisis in adland: More advertising agencies asking staff to work from home

UPDATED: As the Coronavirus crisis continues local agencies including Deloitte Digital, Special Group and McCann Australia have granted their staff permission to work from home, following similar actions already undertaken by ad giants WPP, Omnicom and Publicis Groupe.


Fin Design + Effects

Visual effects and design company Fin Design + Effects posted this statement on Instagram: “Dear Friends of Fin, as the circumstances continue to change rapidly both within Australia and globally, Fin is taking the appropriate measures to ensure we maintain business as usual across our offices.

“To prioritise the health and safety of our staff and clients, we have put systems in place which allow us to continue our work without interruption.

“Our artists and producers are able to work remotely on all current and future projects.

“Additionally Fin’s global infrastructure and pipeline will allow our clients to continue to take advantage of remote review sessions from any corner of the globe as needed.

“Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us should you have any questions about how we are operating or our policies during this fluid situation.

“As we know, creative excellence often thrives in the face of adversity – we can’t wait to see the excellent work produced during these trying times. Stay safe, be well and we will all get through this.”

Big Red

Says Dan Ingall, CEO, Big Red: “Big Red treats the safety of our team, clients and suppliers with the utmost importance.

“We have a working from home plan in place, including the technology to enable remote working which we do anyway with our Sydney team and clients nationally.

“Our offices remain open for now, but this is being reviewed constantly.

“We’ve introduced a strict Visitor Policy, whilst respecting similar policies of our clients.

“Importantly, we’ve had an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) by Benestar in place for some time, who provide 24/7/365 counselling including ways to manage anxiety, virtual meditations and many other online resources to look after the well-being of our team.”

Enero Group

Fiona Chilcott, chief people officer told CB in a statement: “Enero Group is closely monitoring developments with respect to COVID-19, in alignment with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and information and guidance published by local governments around the World.

“The health and safety of our employees and clients remains our highest priority. We are taking an approach which balances local government advice and guidance, while ensuring business continuity for our clients. BMF, Orchard, Hotwire Global, The Leading Edge, Frank, The Digital Edge and CPR remain fully operational and, in order to continue to provide consistent service to our clients during this time, we have actioned a plan which involves: providing employees with the ability and resources to work remotely; conducting meetings by phone or video conferencing and the postponement of all business travel, both international and domestic, as well as all agency-hosted events. We have a dedicated COVID-19 working group to provide timely advice and guidance as required, to support both employees and clients. As a Group, we are taking every measure possible to minimise the spread of COVID-19, and our priority remains to ensure our employees and clients are supported during this challenging time.”

Publicis Groupe Australia and New Zealand

Publicis Groupe Australia and New Zealand told CB in a statement: “Our priority at all times is the health and safety of our teams.

“Throughout this time, we have restricted travel, with a recommendation to prioritise video conference and Skype where possible. We have put into place a 24/7COVID-19 support team across global time zones who are managing individual employee requests.

“Following the increased measures announced by the Australian government over the weekend, since yesterday Publicis Groupe Australia’s creative and media agencies have been transitioning to work from home, returning to the office on Monday, March 30th, pending further developments arising. Our digital business transformation arm Publicis Sapient has also encouraged all staff to work from home and is establishing protocols for staff supporting clients.

“We will continue to serve our clients with our business continuity strategy including mobile workforce enablement so that teams are able to work remotely in compliance with local regulations, our IT Security & Privacy Policies and specific client needs per regulatory requirements. Further, we are confident that our existing flexible working framework, Publicis Liberté, has already laid some of the knowledge and foundations to this way of working.

“We are continuously monitoring the COVID-19 virus situation and in addition to the increased measures we are taking to ensure the safety of our employees, we remain in alignment with the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as advice from local authorities in our market.”

The Royals

Says Nick Cummins, creative partner of The Royals: “To protect the health and safety of our people and clients, The Royals will be working remotely and limiting face-to-face meetings. Having two offices in two different cities that share clients and staff means we already have all the tools and experience in offsite collaboration that will limit the disruption to our clients’ projects. We’re all in this together so let’s take care to minimise the impact of this terrible virus as much as possible.”

VCCP Sydney

VCCP managing director Suzie Roberts told CB in a statement: “We’ve made a decision to move towards a work-from-home scenario starting on Wednesday this week. The decision hasn’t been made lightly, but in the end, we believe this is our social responsibility – protecting us as individuals but also our families and communities. We anticipate all staff will be working from home until at least the end of the month when we will re-evaluate and be guided by the relevant authorities. We’ve put in place working structures for all of our employees to ensure that business continues as usual.”

Havas Australia

A spokesperson from Havas Australia told CB: “At Havas Group our people, clients and community are our priority and it’s important that we work to protect them in our operational decisions related to COVID-19.

“We have advised our teams in our Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane offices to work from home from Wednesday 18 March until at least Monday 30 March.

“The offices will remain accessible to our teams; however, they will be closed to visitors. We have advised our people who wish to access the office to avoid public transport and practice social distancing. All meetings are required to be conducted by phone or video conferencing.

“The leadership team across Havas Group is meeting daily in order to determine best work practice and ensure that our businesses continues to operate at an optimum level.

“Our priority remains to ensure our team and clients are supported during this unprecedented time.”

Havas Group Australia comprises Host/Havas, Havas Media, Red Havas, One Green Bean, Havas Melbourne, Havas Blvd, Havas Sports and Entertainment, h/commerce and Co-Maker.

By All Means

Melbourne creative agency By All Means has issued this post on its social media accounts: “As of 5pm today BAM is remote controlled.

“Until further notice we’re working out of the office through concern for our employees and the people of Victoria. Because, just as we’re Determined to Inspire, we’re Determined to Flatten the Curve.

“We’ll see you in Google Hangouts, dear clients. Stay safe ya’ll and remember: don’t face your touch.”

Magnum Opus Partners

Says Pat Langton, creative director, MOP: “We have given all staff the option to work from home until further notice. Safety is our main priority for staff, clients and suppliers.”

Deloitte Digital

A spokesperson from Deloitte told CB in a statement that the company hasn’t yet mandated that its staff work from home, but they can do so if they wish: “The health and safety of our people is of paramount importance to us.

“It is too early to see the full business impact of COVID-19, but we are committed to working with clients and communities to keep business and the economy going, including through the use of technology even in periods of disruption. We are currently continuing to deliver our work through a combination of on-site and virtual working and are respecting the protocols of the non-Deloitte workplaces that our people are working at.

“DeloitteFlex, our flexible working policy, is in place to allow our people to flex their working arrangements and at any one time we have a number of people using this policy. Our people are empowered to make their own choices about whether they attend our workplace. They are also instructed to respect our clients’ policies and requirements at all times. We are prepared for an increase in working-from-home requirements for our workforce, and are following the advice of the health authorities. Given our well recognised digital capability, we are very comfortable with our ability to serve our clients virtually.

“We are asking all our people not to undertake international work-related travel unless it is essential and this is by exception and complies with government advice, with nobody required to travel unless they are comfortable doing so. All Deloitte people returning from overseas are required to follow the advice of health authorities and the Government.”

Special Group

Special Group managing director Lindsey Evans told CB: “We have a formal work from home trial day today and everything is set up for us to then implement this on an ongoing basis.”


In a statement to CB, Ben Lilley, creative chairman of McCann Australia said: “The safety of our employees, suppliers and client partners is of the utmost importance to us.

“From last week we have given all McCann staff the option and support to work remotely and have put in place all the necessary protocols and technology to allow them to do so. While all McCann offices currently remain open, we are facilitating remote working conditions for all team members and have cancelled all non-essential travel.

“We are taking every measure possible to play our part in minimising the spread of this growing pandemic and we are continuing to follow the direction and advice of the public health and government authorities as it evolves.”

CB will be adding to this story as agency and production company Coronavirus policies come in. Email: