History is a testament to the fact that every century witnesses at least one significant period or event which changes the way people all across the world think, act, and go about life. The pandemic that rattled the world in 2019 is somewhat like that for the current set of population.
Not only has it made hygiene, good health, and safety the top priorities for every single one of us, forever, it has revolutionized how work and business are conducted in each industry and sector. On the one hand, where coffee machines, printers, and water-coolers have become accompanied by masks, sanitizers, and social distancing regulations, companies cut down on travel requirements and switch to digital meets.
The entertainment industry isn’t left untouched by these changes. Multi-location premiers and globe-trotting shooting locales are slowly becoming things of the past. Even in production houses and marketing and distribution offices, almost everything has changed, probably for a good number of years to come.
To assess the situation at a deeper level, Variety magazine conducted interviews with several players in the entertainment world. Let’s hear their thoughts.
What is the take as far as major media companies go?
Leading media houses including Amazon, WarnerMedia, Comcast, and Disney are skeptical of reopening at their full capacities before the summer. A lot of their workforce is still hesitant about stepping inside a crowded workplace, so no one can really predict how things will pan out.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, talent and literary agency, ICM Partners, is leading by example. Though they’re still awaiting the green signal to resume at full capacity, a handful of their critical workers have already restarted working at office. Inside sources reveal that down the line, the agency plans to cut down its workspace capacity by as much as 50%, with every workstation separate by plexiglass. The hallways would be restricted to one person at a time movement, and elevator occupancy will be restricted to a maximum of 4 people simultaneously.
On similar lines, Spin Master Entertainment, sister concern of the leading toy brand Spin Master that has created several successful kids shows, has installed multiple temperature-check systems in their office and is considering revamping the seating arrangements to accommodate fewer seats in boardrooms.
A permanent change seems imminent…
Keeping what the companies are doing to ensure safety aside, whether or not employees want to resume the "normal office life" is a whole another issue. Staff surveys have pointed out that as many as 15 to 30 percent of people won't prefer returning to the office full time. People at the helm of these entertainment houses are aware of this concern and have thus started preps in full swing to accommodate this workforce desire.
Among the suggestions that have come up is the idea of creating roasters where only a handful of employees would be present in the office at any time while the others work remotely. This would continue for at least one or two days per week, after which the other set would attend office and the previous one will work from home. In fact, media houses as huge as ViacomCBS has declared that nearly 80% of their staffers are being switched to a hybrid working environment.
Even though several other industries have revamped their work environments, guess they could all learn a thing or two from these leaders in the entertainment space!