We Used to Have Casual Fridays, Now Citi Introduces Zoom-Free Fridays

Remember when not wearing a suit to work on Friday was a treat? Now many professionals wear sweatpants every day, even if they put on a dress shirt to appear professional on camera.

But all those video calls are becoming a drag, and the ability to be “at work” at an instant by walking from one room to another led many people to increase their hours. Where does it end?

In a move to combat fatigue triggered by remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic, Citigroup Inc has declared “Zoom-Free Fridays” and encouraged employees to limit calls outside work hours.

While Wall Street is known for its tough work culture, the remote working during the pandemic has been particularly grueling for most employees, taking an enormous toll on their health and mental wellbeing.

Chief Executive Officer Jane Fraser said in a memo:

“I know from your feedback and my own experience, the blurring of lines between home and work and the relentlessness of the pandemic workday have taken a toll on our well-being.  It’s simply not sustainable.”

But the company isn’t completely kicking Friday meetings to the curb.

Any internal meetings on Fridays would happen as audio-only calls, according to the memo. The CEO also encouraged employees to take their vacations, while the company announced a firm-wide holiday on May 28.

Citigroup also said that post-pandemic, a majority of the roles at the bank would be designated as “Hybrid”, allowing employees to work from the office at least three days a week and from home for up to two days a week.

Last week, an internal survey at Goldman Sachs circulated online showed junior bankers were working an average of 95 hours a week, which is more than 15 hours per day, six days a week.

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