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Citibank bans Zoom meetings on Fridays, citing video "fatigue"

Will we ever get back to the office?
Will we ever get back to the office? 08:15

Citigroup is making one day a week off limits to Zoom video meetings as a way to combat the mental exhaustion that some workers feel due to the coronavirus pandemic. Fridays will be designated a Zoom-free day for internal meetings, CEO Jane Fraser said Monday in a company memo.

"After listening to colleagues around the world, it became apparent we need to combat the 'Zoom fatigue' that many of us feel," Fraser said in the memo, which was shared with CBS MoneyWatch. 

In countries where Friday is part of the weekend, such as some parts of the Middle East, a different day will be designated as Zoom-free. Calls with clients or government regulators will still take place on Fridays. 

Fraser, who formally ascended to the CEO role at Citi last month, encouraged employees to set "healthy work boundaries" and avoid scheduling calls outside business hours. "[T]he blurring of lines between home and work and the relentlessness of the pandemic workday have taken a toll on our well-being," she said in the memo.

"[W]hen 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," the memo said. Fraser also designated a companywide holiday on Friday May 28, dubbed "Citi Reset Day," to offer an early start to the holiday weekend through Memorial Day, on May 31 this year.

Return to the office

Fraser expects most Citi workers to eventually return to the office at least part-time after the pandemic eases and vaccinations happen widely across the country. But the transition back won't happen for a while, she wrote, noting "a return to any kind of new normal is still a few months away for many of us." 

Even after normal operations at the banking giant resume, most jobs will consist of hybrid roles in which employees are in the office three days a week and work from home two days, according to the memo. Jobs that were fully remote pre-pandemic will continue to be done remotely, but new all-remote roles will be "rare," according to Citi. Meanwhile, jobs in data centers and in Citi branches will remain fully in-person.

Fraser noted several advantages to having employees in the same physical location, including easier collaboration, better feedback and learning and a sense of "belonging."

"A Shot of Hope": Returning to school and work 13:43

Citi is one of several large employers outlining its plans for a future in which most Americans are vaccinated against COVID-19. On Monday, Microsoft said its 57,000-plus workers would have the option to work remotely or come into the office as soon as the end of the month. Ford has said that that 30,000 office employees who moved to remote work during the pandemic would be able to keep telecommuting indefinitely

A recent survey from global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger Gray & Christmas found that nearly 4 in 5 human resources executives plan to institute a hybrid-work model once the pandemic abates.

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