Five months later than originally planned, and four months since McCann London became homeless, McCann Worldgroup is today (5 October) finally moving into its new London HQ at 135 Bishopsgate.
The former RBS office sits on the site of the former Broad Street station, next to Liverpool Street station.
It will eventually be home to around 1,200 staff from 11 agencies, including McCann London, MRM and Momentum Worldwide, each of which is relocating from a series of separate bases in different parts of the capital.
Initially, capacity will be limited to 10%, and it will be used primarily for activities that especially benefit from being together in person, such as creative collaboration and client briefings. Typical distancing and hygiene measures have been taken to ensure the building is Covid-19 safe.
When Campaign visited what was then a building site in October 2018, McCann Worldgroup’s UK chief executive Mark Lund said the decision to move all of the group’s agencies onto a single site was intended to help spark better collaboration between agencies.
Staff were originally meant to arrive from the end of April – a date that has been pushed back more than five months by the coronavirus pandemic, which McCann's parent company Interpublic Group has taken a cautious approach to.
McCann London has been without a base since the end of May, when the lease on its former office in Herbrand Street, Bloomsbury, expired. The lease on MRM’s former office at Bankside was up around the same time.
Speaking to Campaign last week, Lund said that once the coronavirus crisis has passed, he expects the group to adopt a mix of office and home-based working, similar to the model being adopted by the likes of Ogilvy.
Unlike Ogilvy CEO Michael Frohlich, who outlined his agency’s “3:2 model” in a piece for Campaign, Lund said he hasn’t “declared a number on it”.
But he said: “What's been tremendous in the last few months is how well people can use the remote tools to still stay in touch with each other, and crucially, stay in touch with their clients. That means we'll have more flexibility. We'll probably travel a bit less in the future, internationally and nationally.
“But I think the idea of the office being simply the place you go to work as a default, four or five days a week, it's very unlikely we're going to go back to that. And some sort of – in for two or three days, a day at clients, a day or two working from home – that I think is likely to be the new normal."
Calling the office “a long term strategic asset”, Lund noted: “It's a tool like any other, and we're going to use it, a bit more pointedly, a bit more intelligently in that way than we would have done before, simply because the office has ceased to be a default space, it's become a choice space for particular activities and particular times.”
Given the current increase in Covid-19 cases, Lund said there was no schedule for increasing the capacity of the office above 10%. “The original plan was to move to a second phase post-Christmas. But we'll obviously now have to see where the government regulations and the government advice is and where the levels of the pandemic are, before we move to a second phase.”