In the days after Hurricane Sandy’s landfall, several PR firms in New York have established an ad hoc network of temporary offices.
Employees of Edelman PR, for example, gathered at workspaces in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Westchester, N.Y., where they could work or simply connect with family. The Edelman office is located in lower Manhattan, where on Thursday afternoon power remained out.
Russell Dubner, the head of Edelman New York, said the company reached this decision after sending a quick survey to its employees.
“First and foremost, we were concerned with making sure people were safe and that everyone was being attended to,” he said. “Then, we swiftly changed gears to make sure we’re connected and helping [our employees] stay connected.”
With the help of its Washington, D.C., office, Edelman staff created a private Facebook page where its employees could interact. About 315 of its 680 staffers signed up, according to Dubner. He said there’s a lot of cheerleading on the page, as well as employees opening their homes to share power and home-cooked meals.
“Frankly, I’m impressed with the ingenuity of our employees,” Dubner said.
Edelman plans to return to its main office on Monday, although that is dependent on whether electricity is restored.
Crenshaw Communications faced a similar predicament when its office lost power. The firm created a “base camp” at One Penn Plaza with a skeletal crew, while a client of its IT consultant helped restore their servers, which had gone down.
“Anyone with power is working from home and supporting those who don't have it,”
said CEO Dorothy Crenshaw, who praised the kindness of near strangers.
Like Edelman, Crenshaw doesn’t anticipate reopening its main office until Monday.
Workhouse PR, located near the evacuated Area A in Manhattan, also hopes to have its power restored by next week. In the meantime, it has set up temporary offices in Midtown.
“If Workhouse employees are willing and able, they are free to escape the
confines of their homes and respite there [at the Midtown location] where we have power, but Internet connectivity is limited as are the phones,” said Adam Nelson, CEO of Workhouse.
“Truth is,” he continued, “I would rather our employees, truly our greatest treasure, focus on doing what is in the best interest of their own livelihood. They are a diligent bunch and through the darkness have found a committed way to keep the beat alive.”
Meanwhile, the offices of Ogilvy PR are open for the people able to make it to work. A spokesperson for the firm said the company’s gym facilities are available should people need to shower. Many employees continue to work from home, however.
Ogilvy, like the other firms interviewed by PR Daily, said they didn’t experience any interruption in client services during the storm.