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HSBC is considering outlawing Zoom on Friday afternoons

Bliss.

Allie Nawrat

Leader

HSBC Zoom
Credit: Power of Flowers via Twenty20.

Unleash Your Productivity Virtual meeting fatigue is real.

  • Hot on the heels of announcing it was embracing hybrid working, HSBC has decided to trial Zoom-free afternoons.
  • This is an attempt to tackle staff burnout and Zoom fatigue.
  • But is this enough?

Unlike some of its competitors, London-headquartered investment bank HSBC is fully on board with the hybrid future of work.

In mid-April, HSBC’s CEO Noel Quinn told the Financial Times that everyone in the company would be expected to hot desk if they came into the office, including himself.

“We don’t have a designated desk. You turn up and grab one in the morning,” noted Quinn.

“I won’t be in the office five days a week. I think it’s unnecessary . . . It’s the new reality of life.”

Now the investment bank is going even further in considering what its employees want out of the future of work.

HBSC is now piloting Zoom-free Friday afternoons with some UK staff working in its commercial banking unit, theTelegraph reports.

A spokesperson for HSBC told the BBC: “The trial will involve a number of people committing to not setting up Zoom meetings on a Friday afternoon to allow space for other work.”

[Read more: Zoom CEO Eric Yan has ‘Zoom fatigue’ too]

Today’s news comes after Citigroup banned video calls on Fridays to tackle burnout.

Banking’s burnout problem

This move aims to tackle so-called ‘Zoom fatigue’ which reached an all-time during the pandemic.

The timing is particularly pertinent since the banking sector is increasingly under fire for being associated with extreme workplace stress and burnout.

For instance, over the past few months, Goldman Sachs has been in the news following accusations by junior banking analysts that they were working 95 hours a week while working remotely.

As a result, Goldman Sachs’s president John Waldron laid out how the investment bank will tackle staff burnout. Initiatives include no working on Saturdays, strengthening of the bank’s mentorship programs — particularly for younger employees — and automating tasks where possible.

HSBC’s move comes after one of its employees, Johnathan Frostick, shared his thoughts about work-life balance on LinkedIn after suffering a heart attack.

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