Oliver McAteer
Mar 31, 2020

'Breaks and sign-off times are critical': Omnicom Group CEO on balancing work and home life

John Wren shared empathy for those 'doing double-duty caring for a child or relative.'

John Wren
John Wren

Omnicom Group’s CEO has warned its staff of separating work and home life as COVID-19 fuses the two. 

In an internal memo sent to thousands of employees around the world, John Wren said "breaks and sign-off times become critical, especially for people doing double-duty caring for a child or relative."

He said: "In these uncertain times, compassion for one another is critical and I urge everyone to remain conscious of their work/life balance. When your office becomes your home, it can be harder to step away from your computer and have an official end to the workday."

Wren thanked those who have taken it upon themselves to launch opportunities for run and relaxation, such as online yoga classes and virtual celebrations. 

The CEO noted some workers in markets around the other side of the world have already gone back to the office. 

Wren’s memo is in full below:

This marked our second week of working from home on a global scale, and hopefully you have been able to settle into a routine as we adjust to new ways of working. 

For the week ahead and until we see more improvements, we ask that you continue to work from home and abide by all existing travel restrictions. Please also continue to follow the guidance of your national, local and city regulatory authorities, as COVID-19 is impacting our markets in different ways and across varying timeframes. And for those markets that have already made their way back to working in the office, you should follow and prioritize proper safety protocols for yourself and your colleagues.

In these uncertain times, compassion for one another is critical and I urge everyone to remain conscious of their work/life balance. When your office becomes your home, it can be harder to step away from your computer and have an official end to the workday. Breaks and sign-off times become critical, especially for people doing double-duty caring for a child or relative. To that point, I am very pleased to see that our agencies are using their creativity and inspiring our people by providing opportunities for fun and relaxation, such as online yoga, virtual celebrations, and mid-day meditation sessions.  

The same is true for our clients. We have the opportunity to help them pivot their strategies in a marketplace that has changed significantly due to COVID-19. In a short amount of time, we’ve already seen numerous instances where our agencies are leveraging their expertise and creativity to help our clients support their communities, local governments and international organizations. You can see some of the thought leadership and work from our agencies on our internal knowledge sharing website, OMC Hive (https://www.omchive.omnicomgroup.com/#page/News).

While 2020 has started with unexpected challenges, you have inspired me with your constant dedication and focus. As a company, we entered this year from a position of strength and I am confident that with your help, we have the expertise and resources necessary to weather this difficult period.

Although we’ve been fortunate not to have had many cases across our company, my thoughts are with our people and their families who are ill due to COVID-19. I wish you and your loved ones a quick recovery. 

Thank you again for your outstanding work, and let’s all do our best to stay home and stay healthy.

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