Publicis Groupe UK to reopen Chancery Lane office on 1 July

Office will limit capacity to 225 people and no-one will be made to return for rest of 2020.

Publicis UK: Chancery Lane office to reopen
Publicis UK: Chancery Lane office to reopen

Publicis Groupe UK has outlined plans to return to its Chancery Lane office – the home of Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett – from 1 July.

With a priority on client-focused activity, the group – which has been forced to make a series of redunadances as a result of Covid-19 – said that by opening its office with a limited capacity for up to 225 people (monitored via a booking system), it will be able to provide access for those who need a safe place to work or technical support.

Publicis has not announced plans for its other London offices, which include White City (Publicis Media), Baker Street (Publicis.Poke) and Kingly Street (Bartle Bogle Hegarty).

The decision to reopen comes despite 82% of employees saying in a survey that they have been able to work from home as effectively "as from the office".

However, the business has announced that no employees will be made to return to the office before 2021 and it will share its "STEP" (safety, travel, environment and people) plans for returning to work in mid-June.

Meanwhile, 72% participants said in the staff survey that they want to have a conversation about flexible working moving forward, with respondents on average hoping to work remotely for 57% of their working week – or just under three days out of five. 

"Our priority is to make sure everyone is safe and feels safe," Annette King, chief executive of Publicis Groupe UK, said.

"We will take a slow and cautious approach, reopening our offices in a phased way. Our decisions will be led by what’s right for our people and our clients, while following government advice and playing our part in the fight against the spread of the virus."

Earlier this week, Havas UK announced plans to launch a phased return to the office, with safety measures including face masks, temperature checks and a 50-person entry limit per hour.

WPP chief executive Mark Read has also discussed the company’s "slow and measured process" to return to work, while Omnicom's network of agencies has discussed a "three-phase" office return strategy.

Interpublic, on the other hand, has reopened offices in countries such as New Zealand, Sri Lanka, China, Singapore and in parts of Europe, but chief executive Michael Roth claims it "will not rush back" to all offices.