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WPP staff’s return to UK offices “may well be later” than October


WPP has indicated that the majority of its UK-based staff will not be expected to return to the office until September or October – and it “may well be later”.

Chief executive Mark Read laid out plans for employees’ return to work in a staff memo yesterday.

Britain’s biggest agency group, which has 107,000 staff around the world, currently employs 520 people in Manchester at its agencies MediaCom, Wavemaker, Kinetic, Code Computerlove and Cheetham Bell.

It told its staff to work from home in mid-March in a bid to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

And Read suggested that while some of its offices around the world would be reopening, others were different.

He said: “In a few markets in Asia and Europe, we are opening offices now and some people are already starting to come back. In others, including London and New York, even when we do open offices we are not currently expecting significant numbers to return before September or October, and it may well be later.”

The memo added that WPP will only open an office “if we believe we can meet the highest of safety standards”, and that the company would also consider whether people could get to work safely.

He added: “Finally, we’ve all been thinking about how we want to work in the future and what we can learn from this experience – both personally and professionally. It’s certainly something I’ve asked myself. As we look ahead, we will redesign how we operate around the needs of our people and clients in a changed world.

“To be clear, our priority is to take all necessary precautions for the safety of our people and our communities. The return to offices will be a slow and measured process, with all decisions made in consultation with local leadership and communicated early to give people plenty of notice. In the meantime, we’re working in particular on how best to support the mental and physical well-being of people working from home for long periods.”

Last year WPP agreed a 15-year lease for a new “campus” building in Enterprise City, which includes the site of the former Granada Studios.

The eight-floor building – to be designed by WPP-owned BDG architecture + design – includes a roof terrace, café, bar and events area and will have space for 800 people when it is ready in 2022.

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