Citigroup CEO Implements ‘’Zoom-Free Fridays’’ As a Strategy to Relieve Stress from Employees

Citi Bank
DUBAI, UAE – APRIL 18, 2014: Citibank meeting room in Dubai International Airport. Citibank is the consumer division of financial services multinational Citigroup.

Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser announced, according to a memo obtained by Bloomberg, that she’s implementing ‘’Zoom-Free Fridays’’ to improve the staff’s well-being.

With the pandemic, almost every industry had to implement remote work as a way to survive. From newspapers to the healthcare industry, most areas have been looking for ways to improve the remote work experience.

One of the strategies implemented by companies was to imitate the same meeting structure using tools such as Zoom, GoogleMeet, Skye, etc. This way, employees will feel more connected, and it was also a way of building transparent remote communication. Some companies are even going one step further by introducing flex Fridays which gives the employee full control over what they do on a Friday

The problem was not with virtual meetings themselves. The problem was whether these meetings were effective or not. Some teams spent hours on Zoom without taking breaks, leading to increased stress and potential burnout. And because of this, Citi’s CEO decided to implement a new video-call free day policy.

Citi’s ‘’Zoom-Free Fridays’’ Policy

To provide stress relief to the staff, Jane Fraser announced that internal video calls on Friday will be banned. This way, all employees can take a zoom-free day where they can feel more relaxed.

But that’s not it; according to the same memo, she also designated May 28 as a companywide holiday that goes under the name of ‘’Citi Reset Day’’. This holiday has the purpose of encouraging employees to take a break and relax. As she explained in the 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.”  Jane Fraser

The pandemic made companies realized that they don’t need the office to be successful. They can thrive in a 100% remote environment. However, this doesn’t mean that there are no challenges.

As most remote newbies have experienced by now, working remotely sometimes leads to overwork and hours of endless meetings. But with the right strategies virtual teams can learn how to organize their time better and make meetings and other procedures more efficient.


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