Finance

Citi planning three-day week for staff post pandemic

The future of work at Citigroup will be hybrid.

Chief Executive Jane Fraser told staffers on 22 March that most of them will be expected to be in the office only three days a week when the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.

The memo makes Citigroup the first major bank to declare that a physical presence in its offices won’t be required in the post-pandemic world, a change most bankers would have scoffed at a year or even months ago.

“This is not just a scheduling exercise; we will be thoughtful about when we ask colleagues to be in the office together,” Fraser wrote to Citigroup’s 210,000 employees. “The pandemic has stretched our capacity for innovative thinking, for solving problems. It has opened doors to new ways of working and shown that we are able to adapt to and even flourish amid adversity.”

READ Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser introduces ‘Zoom-free Fridays’ as pandemic takes toll on staff

Fraser, who took over as CEO earlier this month, said the plans as to which roles would be hybrid haven’t been finalised. Some roles would still require in-person attendance as the norm and few will change to full-time remote.

While some companies have announced plans to shift to permanent work-from-home roles and hybrid arrangements, banks have largely resisted the move. Fraser said physical offices remain an important tool to promote collaboration, facilitate apprenticeships and help unify teams.

Fraser also spelled out some other workplace changes. She banned internal Zoom meetings on Fridays to ease the drudgery of video calls. (Video calls with clients, she said, could still take place on Fridays.)

She also asked employees to limit scheduling meetings with colleagues outside of their work hours, and, for the second straight year, gave the entire bank a day off the Friday before Memorial Day.

“It’s simply not sustainable,” Fraser wrote, referring to how the pandemic has blurred the lines of work and home life. “Since a return to any kind of new normal is still a few months away for many of us, we need to reset some of our working practices.”

This article was published by Dow Jones NEWSPLUS

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