Guiding your business through the

coronavirus crisis

4A’s guidance on coronavirus

4A’s Policies, Resources, and Guidance on Coronavirus contains all organization guidance on business travel, in-person events and training, and remote work; additional resource links; and employee comms models from two member agencies. Visit the page here.

Please contact 4A’s if you have any questions regarding our policies.

4A's Business as Unusual Color 400

It’s business as unusual: an era of unprecedented change that calls for new guidance, expertise, tips, and best practices. Join the 4A’s for a series of vital webinars to help advise you on our new way to work.

See the webinars

AGENCY RESOURCES

4A's Coronavirus Research

Latest research and findings compiled by the 4A’s Research department.

Learn more
4A's Coronavirus Research
COVID Production Protocols

Collection of production protocol templates and guidance to assist in creating safe production environments.

Learn more
<span style="color: #b80000;">COVID Production Protocols</span>
Return to Office Guidance

Collection of comprehensive guidance, resources, and templates to assist as you navigate the return to your workplace.

Learn more
Return to Office Guidance
The CARES Act, PPP Loans, and Government Relations

How U.S., state, and local crisis responses may affect your agency

Learn more
<span style="color: #b80000;">The CARES Act, PPP Loans, and Government Relations</span>

LATEST NEWS

AGENCY CREATIVITY

How agencies are making a difference for brands—now more than ever

Read more
<span style="color: #b80000;">AGENCY CREATIVITY</span>
BUSINESS IMPACT

Agency resources for operating in this moment of uncertainty

Find Out More
BUSINESS IMPACT
EMPLOYEE IMPACT

Guidance and support on agency work during unprecedented times

Learn more
<span style="color: #b80000;">EMPLOYEE IMPACT</span>

Additional content filtered by category below.

Business as Unusual: Vaccine Mandates and Return to Office Protocols. |

Recorded June 10, 2021 This webinar expands on an earlier 4A’s Video Vignette: “Vaccine Mandates,” and includes responses to the following questions: Section 1: Vaccine Mandates Are employers more likely to mandate employees to get the vaccine vs. “strongly encouraging” them to do so? How should employers respond to requests for reasonable accommodations? Are there workers’ […]

Account Management in 2021: Leaders Sum up the Challenges of the Last Year and Why They Remain Hopeful about their Role and their Industry

Avatar

Just over a year ago, the 4A’s were kind enough to publish an article I’d written that featured some of the country’s top account people from some of the country’s best agencies talking about their role as we headed into what most already knew was going to be the oddest freaking year of their careers. […]

Business as Unusual: The Impact of Changing Agency Models on Culture and Creativity

Second in the 4A’s series on The Future of Work Aired Wednesday, April 28th The ingenuity and resourcefulness of the advertising industry over the last year has been remarkable. Despite the rapid onset of a global pandemic, agencies were able to pivot their operations, create new collaboration models and find ways to create and produce […]

Taking Stock with Teens |

Research Services

Piper Sandler releases its semi-annual report featuring teen shopping behaviors, spending patterns, and favorite brands in a variety of industries.

MAGNA Advertising Forecasts |

4A's Member

MAGNA’s quarterly forecasts predicts global and U.S. ad spend for the year ahead.

Business as Unusual: The Future of Work: The Changing Role of the Office

The Future of Work: The Changing Role of the Office March 25, 2021 Join us as we kick off our new Future of Work content and webinar series for a discussion on the changing role of the office. In this conversation, we’ll hear the perspectives and recommendations of some of the industry’s top leaders on […]

Quick Service Restaurants |

Mintel examines top trends and consumer demands, especially for African American and Hispanic consumers, for quick services restaurants in its infographic series.

The Ad Council and COVID Collaborative Reveal ‘It’s Up To You’ Campaigns to Educate Millions of Americans about COVID-19 Vaccines

Avatar

Major brands, media companies, community-based organizations, faith leaders and other trusted messengers to extend reach of message across all channels with a focus on Black and Hispanic communities, who have been hit hardest by the pandemic.   DOWNLOAD THE PLAYBOOK HERE   New York, NY, February 25, 2021 – The Ad Council and COVID Collaborative today […]

Partnership in 2021: An Inconvenient Truth

Agency Mania Solutions takes a closer look at the effect the coronavirus pandemic continues to have on partnerships between brands, agencies, and the broader marketing supply chain.

The CMO Survey

Research Services

Duke’s semi-annual survey collects the opinions of top marketers to predict the future of markets, track marketing spending, and improve the value of marketing in firms and society. Impact of COVID-19 on marketing departments are included.

Your Business Continuity Plan: COVID-19 Shattered It – Feb 3, 2021 |

The 4A’s met on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, to discuss the following topic: Your Business Continuity Plan: COVID-19 Shattered It. What You Must Do Now for Your Next Business Interruption. The virus forced agencies to re-engineer their Business Continuity Plans on the fly. Now is the time to reassess your Business Continuity Plans to incorporate […]

2021 Baby Boomer Travel Trends |

Research Services

AARP examines the change in Baby Boomer travel habits, planning behaviors, and more due to COVID-19.

4A’s Policies

As COVID-19 news and developments evolve, the 4A’s has instituted the following staff policies:

  1. Business travel: We have currently placed a travel ban on both domestic and international travel.
  2. In-person events/training: We are evaluating and/or rescheduling on a case-by-case basis.
  3. Remote work: All 4A’s employees will work remotely until further notice, although our offices will remain open for those who need to use them. All-staff remote work contingency plans have been established (e.g., remote video conference updates; instructions to bring laptops, power cords, and necessary files home at the end of every day, should the building restrict access; voicemail message recordings and notifications via email).

While these measures have been put in place with the safety of our employees and members in mind, we understand each of our member agencies must make the best decisions for their employees and businesses.

Additional Resources

As part of our efforts to keep you updated on the evolving impact of the coronavirus outbreak, we thought we’d share the following information to help guide your business decisions:

  • Exclusive 4A’s Research content, in partnership with consumer intelligence platform Suzy: a March 9 survey of 1,000 consumers on their workplaces’ responses to coronavirus
  • Also from Suzy: a webinar on coronavirus and the state of the U.S. consumer
  • Insights from Forrester Research, including a survey of how employees feel about coronavirus, and a report on the effect of coronavirus disinformation on employers’ communication
  • Insights from MIT Sloan Management Review on how companies can respond to coronavirus
  • An infographic from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (available to download): COVID 19: Stop the Spread of Germs

We welcome information from our members related to your coronavirus policies. Sharing best practices may help others in the industry, so please reach out to your 4A’s contact with any guidance.

To that end, two 4A’s members offer sample agency communications messaging for others to use as guidance:

Agency Employee Comms Example 1

Although there have not yet been substantial reported cases of coronavirus in our area, we wanted to get ahead of some questions about how we expect to approach the challenges it may create. It’s difficult to say how extremely this will affect the agency and your families but we want to err on the side of prudence. The following guidelines will come into effect in the (probably inevitable) event that our area sees more than a handful of reported cases of coronavirus:

Q: Prior to outbreak, what kinds of actions can we take around the office?

A: Let your inner germaphobe run free. Wash hands frequently. Cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing—with the inside of your elbow. Less hugs. Fewer handshakes. Use the hand sanitizer we’ve placed throughout the office early and often. Give people dirty looks when they don’t do these things. If you have surfaces you must touch that are frequently touched by others, feel free to use disinfecting wipes to clean these areas periodically (see supply closet). If you can’t find these supplies, let office services know so they can restock. The CDC has an entire microsite dedicated to handwashing, feel free to check it out, especially if you need a handwashing refresher.

Q: If I have cold and flu-like symptoms, what action should I take (fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties)?

A: Stay home. Let your manager know by phone and stay home until symptoms ease. We always encourage you to rest and recover if you’re sick. However, if you’re in that gray area where you might normally come to the office anyway, work from home instead. Although our normal policy avoids work-from-home because we think it reduces our ability to collaborate, getting those around you at work sick makes it worse for everyone.

Q: What if you’ve traveled to a region having a coronavirus outbreak or have close family, friends, or have close contact with groups that have reported cases of coronavirus but you yourself are feeling healthy?

A: Proactively let your manager know by phone and decide together whether it might make sense to work from home for a period of time.

Q: If we are working from home due to one of the above, do we still have to attend our normal set of meetings?

A: Yes, we will work to continue with our standard practices in a modified form for increased remote participation. We are prepared to activate additional video conference access numbers if the need arises to allow us to work as well as possible under the circumstances. We are also prepared to activate remote collaboration tools (e.g. Miro.com) to substitute for our card-based activities. In such a case, use of Slack will become more important.

Q: How should this affect the way we work together?

A: For now, we don’t expect to change our ways of working except the increased use of technology if we have significant remote workers.

Q: How do we expect this to impact our clients?

A: This may have a substantial impact on those of our clients that directly serve the public and consumers, requiring additional efforts in some areas and postponing other activities. The impact will be smaller for clients that don’t directly face the public but may still be felt due to shifts in things like industry conference rescheduling. We will have to be flexible and understanding of the challenges our clients may face as their plans shift. We encourage you to think proactively on behalf of our clients about things we can do to assist them in handling their marketing in this evolving environment. This is a new one for most of our clients and they can really use your best thinking. Coordinate with your account managers if you have thoughts in this area.

Q: If I have follow-up questions about policies related to this, who can I contact?

A: For now, HR is tracking our current policies related to coronavirus. Reach out to them and they can refer you to the right person for your specific question.

Q: Do you have some factual information about the virus itself, progress of outbreaks, preventative measures, treatment, etc.?

A: We’d refer you to the CDC website which is far more authoritative on this subject than this email could ever be. Keep in mind that although it is a serious illness that is forecasted to spread widely, healthy individuals tend to experience limited symptoms. We need to take this seriously, but without panic


Agency Employee Comms Example 2

The world health community continues to monitor closely the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease it causes, named “coronavirus disease 2019” (COVID-19). At this time, no one knows how severe this outbreak will be. Given this uncertainty, and the fact that the seasonal influenza (flu) virus is also widespread, we are taking proactive steps to address a number of business concerns. First and foremost, we want to maintain a safe workplace and encourage and/or adopt practices protecting the health of employees, customers, visitors or others. We also want to ensure the continuity of business operations in the event of a pandemic.

We ask all employees to cooperate in taking steps to reduce the transmission of communicable diseases in the workplace. Employees are reminded of the following:

  • STAY HOME if you’re feeling sick.
    • Please do not come into the office when you’re sick. We appreciate all that you do for our clients and your team but showing up with the sniffles is not one of them. If you’re stressed about your to-do list, fear not. You can probably still accomplish a decent amount without ever changing out of your PJ’s and leaving your home. That includes those who say “I sound worse than I am.” While it’s true that you may be feeling better than your coughing or congestion would suggest, we’d rather you rest up at home.
    • We’re great at our jobs and are highly committed. We don’t doubt that for a second, but please trust that your team’s got your back for a day or two. Will a meeting get delayed? Maybe. Is a ZoomWebex/Skype/MS Team or call as good as meeting in-person? Probably not. But will the world implode? No. It will be far worse if numerous other people get sick as a result of you coming into the office.
    • Please remember to take work devices home each day, and to also carry your power charger with you. This way you are ready to work from home if you are not feeling well or are notified of a building closure.  More on the tech/connectivity aspect of working from home to follow in a separate email.

We know that getting sick sucks. Getting behind on work also sucks. In a perfect world, neither would ever happen. Unfortunately, we know that’s not the case. So, give yourself a break the next time you’re not feeling well and stay at home. In doing so, you’re also doing a solid for everyone else who works with you.

  • TRAVEL

If you are returning from personal or business trips from China, Japan, Hong Kong, Iran, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, or Northern Italy, you are asked to:

    • not to return to the office for 14 calendar days even if you don’t show signs of illness
    • contact HR to discuss work from home options
    • seek medical attention if necessary and keep HR informed of any new developments or if assistance is needed

The above also applies to those who has had a member of their household return from a trip to any of the countries listed above.

  • CLEANLINESS AND SANITATION

Let’s all follow best practices (as highlighted in the CDC guidelines) to avoid the spread of germs and viruses in our workspace including:

    • Cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces. Disinfectant wipes will be provided around key areas of the office and hand sanitizer is available for use in all Conference rooms and around the office.
    • Washing your hands often. Use instant hand sanitizers when soap and water are not available.
    • In the meantime, we are also coordinating with our office cleaning contractors to enhance their cleaning protocols where possible.

We will continue to monitor and provide updates as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

In the meantime, please check this page for general news and updates. For the latest factual information regarding coronavirus, please visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.N. World Health Organization.