Advertising Professionals Rethink Return-To-Office Schedules

When advertising professionals were asked in a survey at what point would they be willing to return to the office, 81% of respondents said they still felt uncomfortable about the in-person experience.

While thousands of offices have shut down as a result of government-mandated closures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study from Sound Lounge, an artist-owned post-production facility in Manhattan, found that many professionals in advertising will remain hesitant to return to the workplace, even after government restrictions lift.

Sound Lounge surveyed 107 advertising professionals between May 27 and June 10, 2020, with additional responses trickling throughout the rest of the month. The study received participation from ad agencies, brands, editorials, production companies, audio studios, music houses, as well as VFX, color, and finishing studios.



Advertising professionals have varying opinions when they are likely to fully return to the office. Few indicated they were comfortable with the thought of returning in the coming weeks or months.

  • 35.5% -- very uncomfortable
  • 23.4% -- somewhat uncomfortable
  • 22.4% -- medium
  • 10.3% -- somewhat comfortable
  • 08.4% -- very comfortable

While some said they could return to supervise sessions as early as July, many were certain they would like to remotely supervise their projects until fall or into next year.

  • 13.5% -- July
  • 13.5% -- August
  • 29.8% -- September
  • 13.5% -- October
  • 03.8% -- November
  • 01.9% -- December
  • 22.1% -- Sometime in 2021

Respondents were also asked how they thought their companies would approach sending employees back into the office. Only 2% said they believed all staff would return.

  • 01.9% -- all staff will return to office 
  • 15.0% -- majority of staff will return to office
  • 45.8% -- decreased capacity, hours staggering
  • 43,0% -- minimizing our footprint and remaining remote

Those willing to return said they would provide their own Personal Protective Equipment, but many will still expect their company and post facilities to have PPE available.

Alternatively, a couple of respondents expressed that they "will not feel comfortable going back until PPE is no longer necessary" and that employees should "stay remote until it is safe to go back without masks."




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