While declining to comment on specific plans or specific markets, a holding company spokeswoman said, “with current occupancy, as low as 12%, on average, our real estate team has reconfigured our offices to accommodate 60%-70% of our staff five days a week (3 days a week of attendance).”
Those three days are Wednesday through Friday, which several people within Omnicom agencies said are the days the holding company is requiring in-person attendance. “You'll see some reports that we are consistently bringing people back at least three days a week. That will be finished and completed but way before the end of this quarter,” Omnicom CEO John Wren said on a February earnings call.
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Some shops in the network said that they have at least one unoccupied floor; some said there are Omnicom agencies that once had four or more bustling floors in New York and L.A. down to a single occupied floor.
“Clients are not spending. Business is not changing as quickly as we would like,” said a senior executive with an Omnicom agency, explaining the move as cost cutting.
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Lack of communication
But the way Omnicom is hurriedly going about the Chicago move is upsetting some employees.
Most workers are now housed across multiple floors in a building at 225 N. Michigan Ave. and it is expected that Omnicom will consolidate to fewer floors. On Friday, March 31, agency leaders were told by Omnicom Group corporate leaders that they would have to vacate their space by Monday, April 3—but were given few other details, according to an Omnicom employee who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Workers were later told they would have more time to move, but many agency workers still don’t know where they are going, this person said. “How do you wake up in the morning and go to work for a holding company that treats you like this?” this person said.
Agencies housed in the building include DDB, Energy BBDO, Tracy-Locke, The Marketing Arm and Porter Novelli. It is expected that DDB will keep its space on the 10th floor of the building but will now have to share space with other agencies.