NEW YORK: Edelman has decided to delay its return to offices and implementation of a hybrid work model.
Citing concerns about high transmission rates due to the Delta variant, the agency has instead said it will make U.S. offices "available and accessible" as of September 13, but with no pressure to return, according to an internal memo sent to employees from Edelman U.S. CEO Lisa Osborne Ross.
A number of Edelman's offices have been operating on a voluntary basis for several months.
The decision was made to protect the employees’ health and ensure the agency is not contributing to the spread of the Delta variant, Ross said in the memo, seen by PRWeek.
"I know this news may be disappointing for some who were excited to return to collaborating in offices, while a relief for others," she said. "Our focus remains on bringing people back onsite – when it is safe to do so – so they can experience the full benefits of an office environment."
Edelman updated its health and safety measures early in August to include required vaccinations, wearing of masks, social distancing and limiting building occupancy to 60%.
In the memo, Ross also suggests employees postpone non-essential, in-person gatherings and that business travel remain voluntary until the agency returns to the office in a hybrid capacity.
Edelman global CEO Richard Edelman said he would reevaluate at the end of each month whether returning to the office would be right depending on case numbers and the CDC recommendations.
"We're not going to jump back, we're going to take steps back," he said. "Everybody thought we'd be going back after Labor Day, but I don't want to put people in a risky place."
Edelman is not the only agency reevaluating its back-to-office plans amid the surge of cases expected this fall.
Despite initially planning to be back after Labor Day, Publicis Groupe pushed back any decisions about its return to office in Q4.
Interpublic Group told employees it was mandating proof of vaccination or regular testing in order to work in offices again.