Jane Fraser, CEO of Citigroup, calls for zoom-free Fridays and new holidays as pandemic fatigue mounts

Jane Fraser, CEO of Citigroup, told employees that she’s banning internal video calls on Fridays, encouraging employees to set boundaries for a healthier work-life balance, and introducing a company-wide holiday called Citi Reset Day as the fatigue of Covid -Pandemic puts a heavy strain on employees.

Fraser, who took over from predecessor Mike Corbat this month, announced the changes to employees in a memo sent to their 210,000 employees around the world Monday afternoon, according to one knowledgeable person.

“”The blurring of the lines between home and work and the relentlessness of the pandemic work day have affected our wellbeing, “Fraser said in the memo.” It’s just not sustainable. With a return to a new normal for many of us still a few months away, we need to reset some of our work practices. “

The Citigroup memo was sent the day after Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon was forced to speak to his employees after an internal poll of first year analysts reported by CNBC last week went viral. The survey detailed the brutal working conditions at the leading investment bank, including employee health concerns about working more than 100 hours a week, as well as more mundane issues like ignoring junior bankers in meetings.

Fraser said that Zoom meetings with customers and regulators will still be held on Fridays, but employees will hold meetings over the phone to give employees a break from non-stop video conferencing.

Jane Fraser, General Manager for Latin America at Citigroup Inc., smiles during the Milken Institute’s global conference in Beverly Hills, California, USA, on Monday, April 29, 2019. The conference brings together business, government, technology and philanthropy leaders. Science and media to discuss actionable and collaborative solutions to some of the most important issues of our time. Photographer: Kyle Grillot / Bloomberg via Getty Images

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She dubbed Friday, May 28, a company-wide holiday called Citi Reset Day, and encouraged employees to schedule calls only during what are traditionally considered work hours. Parts of the memo were previously reported by Financial News.

“If our work regularly spills over into nights, very early hours, and weekends, it can mean we can’t fully recharge, and that’s not good for you or, ultimately, for Citi,” said Fraser.

She also set the framework for what work at Citigroup, the third largest US bank by assets, will be like once employees return to their offices. Like other bank chiefs, including Solomon, Fraser emphasized the importance of employees, especially young ones, working together in an office.

Most employees are referred to as hybrid workers who work in an office at least three days a week and log in from home up to two days a week, she said. Branch employees will remain at Citigroup locations and some roles will continue to be removed, although Fraser described these positions as “somewhat rare.”

The pandemic “has opened doors to new ways of working and shown that we can adapt and even thrive in difficult situations,” Fraser said. “Nothing should stop us from building a bank that wins, a bank that strives for excellence, and a bank with a soul.”

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