How 12 Agency Heads and their companies are working during MCO!

Everybody is asking us how our industry is adjusting to the new normal: are people at work, full time, remote, virtual, business as usual? Here’s what they told us…

Sivanathan K, Group CEO of Trapper Media Group….

We follow a strict SOP and ask our employees to also instill this in their homes. We did a survey amongst ourselves and found 95% of employees managed a safe working environment at home and thus we asked they do the same in the office.

Currently, we are in rotational format with one off day for employees to manage their family requirements plus strict SOP within the office. We realised most are happy to be in the office, discussing face to face and brainstorming with each other.

Quah Seng Chit, Managing Director of Spin Communications….

We are fortunate to have sufficient space for all to return to work and to be seated within social distancing guidelines. SOPs strictly adhered to and we also provide lunch daily to all staff. Nespresso coffee available too, so no need to go out unnecessarily.

Kristian Lee, CEO of Naga DDB Tribal….

The situation requires that we be fluid in the way we manage our human resources and time. Currently, we encourage WFH (Work From Home), as we recognize the need to be vigilant, with the threat of the pandemic prevalent.

The past few years has seen us structure our business units into individual hubs comprising suits, planners and creatives, led by senior personnel. These hubs come into the office once a week, on different days. For access to key decision makers within the agency, we have 7 senior management individuals working in the office daily.

Chanchal Chakrabarty, CEO of GroupM Malaysia….

Since August we moved to team A/B rotation with agency/division head discretion for any specific talents who have issues like caregiving for infants or aged.

For those using public transport, non-peak hours were recommended hence the flexibility of hours: 8-11am & 4-7pm. However with the recent spike in cases we’re now on voluntary basis and observing how the situation evolves.

When in Team A/B, they are pre-nominated by their Business Unit leads and registered with the Admin. They are responsible for accountability of their teams. We strongly believe our talents are responsible and accountable towards what they’re assigned to deliver.

Mazuin Zin, MD of Edelman Malaysia….

We’ve been practicing team rotations since July and flexible work arrangements:
–    Working hours to avoid peak traveling time for those using public transportation
–    WFH for those with aging parents and small kids
–    WFH for staff under certain medications and are vulnerable to Covid
–    Swab tests for staff feeling ill/had been in places with pronounced Covid 19 cases
–    14 days self quarantine if in contact with Patient Under Investigation (PUI)
–    One meter distance office seating with recommended safety protocols.
–    Hand sanitizers and masks provided to staff

Bala Pomaleh, CEO of Mediabrands Malaysia….

Mediabrands has been very flexible and supportive of our staff during this pandemic. Initially Mediabrands allowed only 10% of people to be in office. We have now increased this to 30%. What is key is to ensure we meet our client obligations be it by WFH or WFO (Work from Office). Two thirds of our people prefer to come to office at least twice a week.

…We have now increased this to 30%. What is key is to ensure we meet our client obligations be it by WFH or WFO (Work from Office). Two thirds of our people prefer to come to office at least twice a week…

Tan Kien Eng, CEO of Publicis Groupe & Leo Burnett Group Malaysia….

With MARCEL, our global A.I network, our people, systems, and processes have been ready for such situations, with the pandemic and lockdown we put MARCEL to full action globally. For the first time, 100% of our staff worked remotely. With MARCEL it enhanced our connectivity, protecting jobs, sharing briefs, sharing experience, working cross-borders virtually, and with thousands of training modules for those keen on life long learning.

Post-MCO, each team was split into two groups, letting them to work from office once in two weeks. In the last few months, we have seen 30-40% of staff choosing to WFO. With the recent spike in daily cases, we are encouraging our people to WFH.

Ramakrishnan CN, Entropia Partner and head of Entropia XR….

We have divided the company into multiple teams and each team comes to the office twice a week and the rest of the days is WFH. This is aligned with the Govt’s SOPs and social distancing requirements with strict implementation of the internal WFH and WFO policies. There are multiple virtual groups set up and daily check-ins and check-outs are done by the respective working team to keep things efficient and productive.

…There are multiple virtual groups set up and daily check-ins and check-outs are done by the respective working team to keep things efficient and productive…

Shaun Tay, Co-Owner & CEO of FCB Group Malaysia….

We’ve been working on a hybrid working arrangement. Our leadership and creative teams are in the office full-time with business and operational teams rotating on a weekly basis. Vid discussions/presentations are still very much in with our clients and minimizes travel and exposure risk. We’re also minimizing time in the office by encouraging teams to leave for home once their work is done.

Datin Kala Sethu, Founder & MD of Compass Insights….

We are 100% in the office. The client service/research team is very much scaled down during MCO. Fieldwork & Data processing is outsourced. We work with clients and vendors abroad and locally.

Adrian S’ng, CEO at MullenLowe S’ng & Partners Malaysia….

For MullenLowe, we went back to the office a month after the lockdown was lifted. We wanted the dust to settle a little and to make sure the safety of our staff was paramount.

Right now, 100% of the staff work in the office but we have strict SOP measures in place.

However, what MCO has taught us is, we are completely capable of working from home should the need arise again…

Peter De Kretser, CEO of GO Communications….

There’s a sense of irony at GO that it didn’t take long for our innovative, newly introduced four and a half-day workweek to catch on with the rest of the country, with the start of the MCO.

In February, GO implemented a permanent 9am – 1pm workday every Friday, to further practice work/life balance and workplace efficacy long before the MCO was announced.

(Photo credit: 123RF)

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The APPIES is an annual event that presents a rare opportunity for creative, media, digital and marketing agencies or brands to present their best campaigns to the industry.

This is the only event where Live Presentations meets Live Judging.

Similar to TED Talks, The APPIES is the chance for great presenters with outstanding work to show it off to some of the industry’s most important industry leaders.

This year’s winners will receive Gold, Silver or Bronze trophies for 21 categories, and 6 special Best of Best categories (red trophies) that require no submissions!

Campaign entries must have run between June 2023 to May 2024

Submissions Deadline
30th June 2024

APPIES Festival – Judging & Presentations
11th – 12th July 2024 (Malaysia)


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