How Goldman Sachs and Citi Cope with COVID Combustion: Friday Without Zoom and Saturday Without Work

Even the new CEO of Citigroup recognizes zoom fatigue.

Jane Fraser is making headlines this week – and not just because she became the first woman to run a large bank on Wall Street. In a letter to C-Group Citigroup,
210,000 employees obtained from outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, Fraser announced a new “Friday Without Zoom” policy banning internal calls for video conferencing at the end of the work week to combat the “relentlessness of a pandemic workday”. Moreover, she designated Friday, May 28, as a holiday called City Reset Day.

“The ambiguity of the line between home and work and the relentlessness of the pandemic working day have taken a toll on our well-being,” Fraser wrote. “It’s just not sustainable. Since it’s a return to any new normal thing for a few of us for a few more months, we need to reset some of our work practices. “

Her letter comes for Goldman Sachs GS,
CEO David Solomon dealt with a presentation by 13 of his employees that went viral last week, describing the “inhumane” culture of working at the world’s second-largest investment bank. Domestic analysts complained about the 100-hour week, senior bankers who shouted and cursed employees, and that the company did not respect Friday and Saturday’s policies. One worker said that the treatment of older bankers was “convincingly worse” than his childhood living in foster care.

So Solomon sent a letter late Sunday promising to “enforce” the “Sabbath rules” – meaning employees can’t work from 9pm on Friday to Sunday until 9am, except in certain situations. He also said the company will hire even lower bankers to make the job easier.

“We need to help people find balance in an ever-connected world,” Solomon wrote in his note. “In this world of teleworking, it seems we need to be connected 24/7. We are here to provide support and guidance. This is not easy and we are working hard to improve it. “

I Jefferies Financial Group Inc. JEF,
sent a message to his 1,129 analysts and associates, urging them to choose between Peloton PTON,
bike, Mirror home exercise system or Apple AAPL,
training package as a thank you for their hard work over the past year.

“You have given us all these past twelve months and these gifts are a sign of our deep gratitude for your dedication, dedication and contribution to our success in the face of challenging circumstances,” wrote CEO Rich Handler and President Brian Friedman.

Why then a sudden investment in the emotional well-being of employees? Combustion from home (WFH) is real and is getting worse as the COVID-19 pandemic enters its second year. The average working day is nearly an hour longer than it was before the pandemic, according to a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) released last summer. A recent report by NordVPN Teams, a New York-based company that provides companies with virtual private networks (VPNs), suggests it’s more like 2.5 extra hours a day as the lines between private and professional life become even more blurred than before.

Skipping from one video call to another via platforms like Zoom ZM,
Google GOOGL,
Meet in Microsoft MSFT,
Teams also physically and mentally carry remote workers. Even researchers from Stanford say that “zoom zoom” is real. “Just because you can use video doesn’t mean you do to have to, ”the lead researcher wrote in a recent report published in the journal Technology, Mind and Behavior. So Citigroup’s Fridays without zooming sound like a step in the right direction.

Americans generally reported worsening sleep, drinking more alcohol, gaining weight, as well as poor mental health as the pandemic dragged on.

But there is hope. Here are four ways these Stanford scientists suggest you can fight zooming.

In addition, take a look at these seven tips that workplace professionals and psychologists recommend for combating burnout, such as how to set boundaries and stop working when your work day should end.

And employers can check out these five ways your company can make working from home even better.