WPP: three per cent of UK staff working from office

Just three per cent of WPP's workforce in the UK is currently working from the office, with only one per cent in the US doing so.

The level in Germany is 17 per cent, while in China the figure is 77 per cent. In India, however, no employees are working from the office at present.

WPP announced its latest levels of office-based working in the company's main markets in its interim results announcement today, which shows the PR arm outperformed the rest of the business in the second quarter and first half of 2020.

The holding company – whose PR agencies include Burson Cohn & Wolfe, Hill+Knowlton Strategies and the recently merged Finsbury Glover Hering – said: "The significant majority of our people have been working remotely since March, with some recent reopening of offices at reduced capacity in certain countries, involving very strict hygiene and social distancing protocols."

WPP said it has "generally not applied for government support in response to COVID-19"; it did not use the UK Government-funded Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, for example. However, the group said in some markets, support has been applied automatically.

"In total we have received £29m of funding, none of which related to the UK or US, and have also benefited from the deferral of certain taxes under local initiatives available to all companies in the countries concerned," the firm stated.

In an update on the impact of the coronavirus, WPP said it has "successfully maintained the financial resilience of the business from both a liquidity and cost perspective" during the pandemic.

This includes raising more than £900m in the bond markets in May, improving its working capital position due to "increased focus and discipline", and reducing operating costs 6.5 per cent year on year in the first half of 2020. WPP said it is "on track to deliver towards the upper end of our cost savings target of £700m-£800m this year".

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