Office Hours: Media giants rethink the future of work, plus the death of the holiday party
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In a matter of months, the pandemic has transformed the way we communicate, where we conduct business, the technology we use, and how we juggle home and work life. Every Thursday, Ad Age looks at how these changes are impacting our professional lives.
NBCU's mobile sales team
NBCUniversal is expanding its partnership with Salesforce with the goal of becoming a mobile sales team and providing tools and systems to support a work-from-home environment. The deal will help NBCU democratize its resources from insights to product knowledge, as well as provide new options to help teams collaborate.
“We all share the responsibility for transforming our industries and our society—and that starts inside our own companies. With Salesforce, we’re building a unified information source to re-imagine collaboration across our entire platform so that NBCUniversal can continue delivering the highest level of transparency, insights, and results for our customers,” Linda Yaccarino, chairman, global advertising and partnerships, NBCU, said in a statement.
NBCU will utilize Salesforce's organizational tools like Quip, Inbox and Chatter, and activate Datorama to manage data. It will also tap Salesforce’s artificial intelligence tool, Einstein, to give employees access to more marketplace insights.
ViacomCBS sets post-COVID plan
The majority of ViacomCBS’ workforce will work from home, at least part of the time, post-COVID, according to an internal memo from CEO Bob Bakish, obtained by Variety. A hybrid model, where 70% of its workforce will work from home at least part of the time, not only allows for more flexibility for employees, but also has financial advantages for the company, which has been looking to reduce costs. One way it may be able to do this is by shrinking its office space, with employees sharing desks. But the plan won’t go into effect for some time as, for the most part, ViacomCBS employees are still working from home. There are no plans to return to the office until sometime in 2021.
Similarly, Fox Corp. is delaying its plan to have most of its employees return to its offices until at least April 2021, according the The Hollywood Reporter. The company was originally supposed to be back in the office in January.
As the media industry grapples with how organizations will operate in the future, there are yet more layoffs in the works. Walt Disney will eliminate another 4,000 employees thanks to COVID. This is on top of the 28,000 it had previously said it would lay off in September. The cuts, which will take place in the first-half of fiscal 2021, will impact employees at its parks, experiences and products divisions.
Sayonara holiday hooplas
For better or for worse, the holiday office party—where you are forced to schmooze with folks on the 12th floor while coworkers get uncomfortably inebriated—will certainly take on a different form this year. Instead, a new crop of holiday celebrations are emerging, Digiday reports, in the form of Zoom gatherings and care packages. Media companies like Vox Media, BuzzFeed and Meredith will host virtual holiday toasts, while Business Insider will bring in a comedian to entertain employees virtually. The Martin Agency, which typically goes all out on its holiday party, is sending gift boxes to employees that reflect the company’s work and values, Digiday reports. Other gifts are taking the form of stipends, like the Turkey allowance offered by agency DiMassimo Goldstein.
Miller Lite is celebrating the end of holiday soirees in its latest campaign, “Farewell Work Holiday Parties,” Ad Age’s Ethan Jakob Craft reports. Created by DDB’s Chicago and San Francisco offices, the spot is a comedic eulogy for the cringeworthy moments of the get-togethers, like posing for a photo with your boss or having too much to drink. Watch the spot here.
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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