News: Citi declares 'Zoom-Free Fridays' to stop burnout

Employee Engagement

Citi declares 'Zoom-Free Fridays' to stop burnout

In response to global employee feedback, internal video calls are no longer allowed on Fridays, and new CEO Jane Fraser is encouraging employees to keep their work to traditional working hours and take their vacations.
Citi declares 'Zoom-Free Fridays' to stop burnout

Citigroup announced earlier this week that it is instituting a policy to put a stop to all internal video calls on Fridays, as a way of combating stress and burnout faced by employees. Furthermore, employees are being discouraged from making calls on weekends or outside traditional pre-pandemic working hours.

The policy was introduced by Jane Fraser, Citi's new CEO, who took over leadership of the bank earlier this month, and apparently comes in response to overwhelming feedback from  Citi's 210,000 employees worldwide.

“After listening to colleagues around the world," Fraser wrote in a memo to staff, "it became apparent we need to combat the 'Zoom fatigue' that many of us feel, so I overcame my initial resistance to this idea."

The bank did clarify, however, that employees may still be expected to take external video calls or internal audio-only calls on Fridays.

Beyond Zoom fatigue, the greater concern seems to be the blurring of work and life, which Fraser called unsustainable. "We are of course a global company that operates across time zones, but when our work regularly spills over into nights, very early mornings and weekends, it can prevent us from recharging fully, and that isn't good for you nor, ultimately, for Citi," she wrote.

Citi's staff will not be returning to the office any time soon despite the feedback showing that they want to—according to Fraser, any kind of new normal is “still a few months away for many of us."

Fraser said that when the bank does reopen physically, though, most staff will be designated hybrid workers, expected to spend at least three days a week in the office but with the flexibility to work from home the rest of the time. Certain front-line jobs, such as branch employees and data center workers, will remain full-time, and fully remote roles will be rare.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, #HybridWorkplace

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