Office Hours: Sir Martin welcomes flexibility, while Reed Hastings poo-poos remote work
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The way we work is rapidly evolving. In a matter of months, the pandemic has forever changed how we communicate, where we conduct business, the technology we use and how we juggle home and work life. There’s also been a much-needed spotlight thrown on the makeup of the workforce and the efforts being done to make the ad world a more-inclusive place. Every Thursday, Ad Age will tackle a different issue regarding the way these changes are impacting our professional lives.
The idea of sharing a work space with multiple businesses may seem like the last thing you'd want to do amid the pandemic, which has put co-working spaces like WeWork in a tough spot. In an effort to reinvent itself and reposition itself in the space, WeWork along with other similar brands are debuting new marketing that highlight their spaces as the flexible solution businesses need as they downsize their space, Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli writes. WeWork, which has lots of past baggage, including a failed IPO, released a campaign called “That’s How Tomorrow Works,” featuring masked employees collaborating at a distance while a cover of “Tomorrow” from the musical “Annie” plays.
Sir Martin supports flexibility
Martin Sorrell is renegotiating leases for S4 Capital to reduce the number of building locations in each city where the company operates, he told Ad Age. The plan is to have one building in each city, Sorrell says. Moving forward, he expects people will want to spend anywhere from two to four days in the office, not five, as they look for flexible commuting times and dispersed living. “We are going to have to be more flexible,” he says. “I buy some, but not all, of the thinking about culture being developed in office spaces,” he adds.
Hastings turns his nose at remote work
Netflix’s head honcho Reed Hastings poo-pooed remote working in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on the heels of his new book, “No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention.” “I don’t see any positives. Not being able to get together in person, particularly internationally, is a pure negative,” he said. “I’ve been super impressed at people’s sacrifices.” While many large corporations are re-thinking the workplace, with some even looking to work from home indefinitely, Netflix won’t be going in that direction. Hasting’s foresees the workweek consisting of four days in the office and one day from home. As for when Netflix employees return to the office, Hastings joked, “Twelve hours after a vaccine is approved.” As soon as a majority of people are vaccinated, “then it’s probably back in the office,” he said.
With indoor dining restarting in New York City on Sept. 30 (albeit at only 25 percent capacity), the next question is, will business dinners resume? Let us know if you plan on venturing out to break bread with colleagues by emailing [email protected]
Office workers returning to their desks for the first time since they started working remotely in March are finding a time capsule of the pre-pandemic era. Bloomberg details some of these relics, like tickets for canceled concerts, winter clothes and long-expired milk. I plan to burn everything at my desk when I return, except of course the bottles of wine from the holidays that I never got around to taking home. Let us know what you find lurking at your desk when you return to the office.
Love it or hate it, networking is certainly an essential part of the ad business. But for professionals of color, networking can be challenging, Laura Morgan Roberts and Anthony J. Mayo write in Harvard Business Review. “According to our research, networking can be especially challenging for professionals of color, who may not only experience general discomfort, but also face unique challenges from not being perceived as powerful, credible, or resourceful—this deficit-based assessment often results in less outreach and relationship-building. Professionals of color are also at higher risk of becoming isolated, struggling to navigate the racial boundaries at social events—in particular, they hesitate to share information about themselves, which limits their ability to be authentic at work and to build deep relationships.” But the pandemic, they write, could “create new, more attractive opportunities for building relationships with people who can share valuable information about opportunities, provide honest assessments of strengths and weaknesses, and advocate for promotions.”
The Drum, meanwhile, takes a look at maternity leave during the pandemic and how agencies need to update their parental leave policies to better accommodate working moms.
That does it for this week's Office Hours. Thanks for reading and we hope you are all staying safe and well. For more industry news and insight, follow us on Twitter: @adage.
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