In a new initiative unveiled in a memo from its co-heads of banking, capital markets and advisory, Manolo Falco and Tyler Dickson, seen by Financial News, the bank said that it wanted dealmakers to use an hour to “dedicate to yourself in the middle of each working day, and at a time that best suits you”.
The new scheme is called “My Hour”. Investment bankers throughout the industry have struggled to switch off from work during the coronavirus pandemic, with lockdown blurring the lines between home and office, with some putting in 16-hour days.
FN has previously reported on the industry’s need to de-stress. Helene Jolly, a director in Deutsche Bank’s debt syndicate team, has said: “Everybody is at home, everybody is available all the time, so you slip into a cycle where you’re always working. Applying some boundaries has been difficult.”
At Citi, the memo continued: “We all work long hours in dedication of our careers at Citi and in delivering the best for our clients, but maintaining a healthy equilibrium across work and spending time on ourselves and our loved ones is vitally important for our long-term wellness and progress,” wrote Falco and Dickson.
The two bankers said that the hour could be used for “wellbeing, whether through reading, relaxing, reflecting, exercising, volunteering or doing anything you need to do in your personal life” and should be viewed as “as important as any meeting or client deadline”.
Not all investment bankers believe that lockdown has been detrimental, however. In a poll of around 700 financial services employees by executive search firm Sainty Hird & Partners, 42% of investment bankers said that working from home had made them happier, while 53% said it had had a positive impact on their physical well-being.
Many investment banks have been stepping up efforts to support employees throughout the pandemic. Goldman Sachs has given staff an extra 10 days holiday to support children or elderly family members, while JPMorgan has offered five additional days off to staff. In May, Citi CEO Mike Corbat gave all of its 200,000 employees a day off for “managing challenges – from delivering site-dependent services to clients, to helping children learn and taking care of loved ones, to supporting our communities”.
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