With over two billion people worldwide now fully vaccinated against Covid-19, the gradual return to life as it once was has begun to accelerate. Despite the fact that companies had the legal potential to enforce vaccination for their workers, many opted for a supportive and educational approach instead.
However, Interpublic Group made headlines last week after revealing that it would now be making proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test a requirement in its offices to enable a safe return from remote working during the pandemic.
Back in June, The Drum spoke to major holding companies about what their policies on vaccination would be, and we also asked what guidance they are providing globally as well as in the US. Here we find out if anything has changed.
Back in June, WPP’s position was that it would not mandate vaccination upon returning to office, although it was supporting the global effort by encouraging employees to take up the vaccine and would provide flexible working arrangements to enable them to do so.
A WPP spokesperson has elaborated on its previous stance, saying: “We strongly encourage our people to be vaccinated and are providing them with the opportunity to do so within working hours. As more people return to the office, we’ll continue to review the right balance between testing, vaccinations and other precautions to ensure that we can provide safe working environments in line with local regulations. We do not currently require vaccinations to work from our offices, which reflects legislation in most markets around the world.”
Publicis previously stated that it would be treating the summer as a transition period, from remote to hybrid working, largely dependent on the progress of the vaccination rollout.
A spokesperson from Publicis says: “Our priority remains to be the well-being and safety of our people. We are, therefore, taking a local-first approach in accordance with country, city or state regulations.
“For instance, we are beginning to see our European offices opening more and more. However, we know that the future will be more flexible and that a hybrid model will be key. Marcel (Publicis’s internal platform) was essential for us as we went into lockdowns and will be the key to building hybrid, fluid and collaborative working models, with the office as the primary place of work.”
Omnicom’s stance has not changed since June. Its statement reads: “We are welcoming vaccinated employees back to the office if the region is in Stage 3 per our microsite returningsafely.com.” So its policy will change based on regional and local guidelines.
IPG has stated: “We are encouraging our people to be vaccinated. Parts of our organization are conducting surveys to track vaccination rates among employees in different markets, and many IPG agencies have hosted sessions with healthcare professionals for our employees to ask questions about the vaccination process and the science behind the vaccines. In some markets, we are also helping provide access to vaccines for employees.”
IPG tightened its mandate to one that requires employees to show proof of vaccination or regular testing to help ensure a safe return to offices. Though the mandate applies primarily to the US and other markets where vaccines and testing are readily available, it stipulates that employees must be vaccinated or provide a negative Covid-19 result from a test taken within 72 hours of being in the office, which is about once or twice weekly.
Dentsu’s stance has also not changed since June, when it stated: “Dentsu International respects that it is an individual’s choice to have a Covid-19 vaccination, based on their own personal circumstances. We are encouraging our people to make well-informed decisions about their own health, and we are supporting our teams with the required flexibility and paid time off for vaccination appointments and any associated recovery time.
“The safety and wellbeing of our people is our priority, and we will continue to follow government guidelines and best practices. We look forward to making office spaces available for collaboration again.”