Office Hours: Havas New York gets back to the office, and Polar experiments with a four-day week
Over in Charlotte, N.C., Wray Ward is moving into a new 38,000-square-foot office later this month. While the agency had been in the process of planning its new digs before the pandemic hit, Jennifer Appleby, chief creative officer and president at Wray Ward, says many of the decisions they had made previously align with their needs now. These include more individual work space, nooks that allow for social distancing, and for employees to be comfortable and mask-free. There’s also an outdoor roof deck and patio, along with venting skylights that allow for fresh air circulation.
The decision to move forward with its office expansion comes as other agencies scale down their physical presence. But Appleby says at Wray Ward they are “strong believers in the energy of being together in person.”
“Young people are dying to get back into the office in a safe way,” she says.
Some Wray Ward employees will begin going into the office on Sept. 28, but the agency isn’t mandating everyone return right away. There will still be some, Appleby says, that need to remain home to help children with remote schooling among other things. She estimates about 50 percent to 60 percent of employees will return to the office on a staggered schedule, and the company will adapt a hybrid model.
To accommodate those who will be home, Wray Ward has implemented Zoom-ready rooms so they can video conference in with the team that is in the office.
Not so fast
While some companies may be eager (and think their employees are too) to return to the office, according to a report in Bloomberg employees aren’t necessarily embracing going back to the office just yet. According to a survey from Wells Fargo/Gallup released this week, 42 percent of 1,094 worker surveyed in August, had a positive view of working remotely, compared to just 14 percent who viewed it negatively.