Platoons and Free iPads: How Wall Street Tackles Covid Burnout

Platoons and Free iPads: How Wall Street Tackles Covid Burnout

Jefferies sent a note to his 1,129 analysts and associates, offering the option to choose between a Peloton bike, a MIRROR home workout system, or an Apple package that includes an Apple Watch, iPad, and AirPods.

“You have given us all for the past twelve months and these gifts are a sign of our deep appreciation for your dedication, your sacrifice and your contribution to our success in the face of difficult circumstances,” said Rich Handler, CEO of Jefferies and Brian Friedman , President of Jefferies, writes in note to employees.

Some Wall Street employees have had enough: Goldman Sachs analysts have spoken of working 95 hours a week and being subjected to “inhumane” treatment. In response, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon said the bank would strengthen enforcement of its “Saturday rule” and speed up recruitment of junior bankers. Goldman’s “Saturday Rule” requires analysts to leave the office from 9 p.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Sunday, except in rare circumstances.

On Monday, Citigroup announced the launch of “Fridays Without Zoom” to help exhausted bank employees cope with stress a year after the start of the pandemic. But that might not be a big change: Citi said employees may still be required to make internal audio-only calls as well as external Zoom calls, including with customers and regulators.

Booming markets and seismic changes in the economy created a lot of business – and stress – for investment banks during the pandemic, and selven care and mental health have risen to the top of the priority lists of many employees.
This has led companies on Wall Street to get creative in their response, especially as free food and gym memberships are no longer options for boosting team morale.

The freebies arrive as Wall Street executives decide how and when to reopen their offices. A new KPMG survey of 500 CEOs shows some large global companies are no longer planning to reduce their physical footprint after the pandemic. Only 17% anticipate cuts, up from 69% in August.

– CNN’s Clare Sebastian, Allison Morrow and Matt Egan contributed to this report.


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