Now that the vaccine rollout is real and bosses are tentatively setting rough return dates, you may find yourself searching your desiccated soul for your old self, a presumably enthusiastic worker on a “schedule” with a “lunchtime” and a love of “interfacing.” If this describes you, then you should know Jane Fraser, CEO of global investment bank Citigroup, gets it.
This morning, multiple news outlets reported that Fraser has hereby declared Fridays “Zoom-Free Fridays” in a bid to help finance workers retain their sanity.
“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,” Fraser reportedly wrote in an employee memo. “It’s simply not sustainable.”
In addition, she has deemed May 28th “Citi Reset Day.”
Before I shout, full-on, YES, LET’S ALL BE MORE LIKE A GLOBAL INVESTMENT BANK!!!, I’ll acknowledge here that zillions of orders of business top Zoom fatigue. Unionise Amazon and then break up Amazon. Override Prop 22. Recognise America’s shadow workforce of contractors as employees entitled to labour protections. Rebuild OSHA. Investigate corporations’ needless jeopardisation of lives during a pandemic. Subsidise childcare. Abolish balkanising hedge funds that draw vast unearned salaries for Citigroup’s wealthiest clients.
But we can dream of a world in which we topple the rent-seeking autocracy and think about soothing our emotional turbulence. Let us explore the possibilities of Zoom-free Fridays and beyond. As CEO of dreams, I proclaim that everybody also deserves the following things in a post-pandemic workplace.
Change the Wi-Fi password on something called paper
First and possibly the only single important item in my little presentation is to ban internet use for one (long, 31 day) month before returning to any kind of group setting. But the internet kept us sane, you say. We made pancake cereal! We taped our nipples to test a theory about a mafioso governor! We attached pillows to our bodies and wore them around! Ha Ha Ha totally normal things!!!
But please consider the alternative: you’re catching up with Derek from IT (not in your department, so you have a lot to talk about), and he casually mentions he’s filing an HR complaint about forcing him to get a microchip injected into his arm in order to come back to work, and you should really watch this video.
Fifteen minutes on Monday morning to scream into the office.
Recognise animals’ emotional labour
Judging by my Zoom meetings with co-workers, an alarming number of dogs, perhaps more dogs than there are people, will now have nowhere to poop. Cats will be sad, also. The only alternatives to animal sacrifice is to release them into the office where they may step on our keyboards run in the halls because they’ve earned their place.
Relax policies for candles and small flames
Working in close quarters with fellow inmates, you’ve probably learned the value of keeping matches close to the bathroom. Let’s apply these purification rituals to the workplace in the coming year.
Mandated wandering time
A 2011 study published by the National Academy of Sciences found that, in over 1,000 cases, Israeli judges were far more likely to grant parole after eating lunch. Does it matter if a snack-deprived editor is more likely to indiscriminately strike down ideas at a pitch meeting, without considering its merits? Maybe not, but additional research has linked long stretches of time spent sitting with cancer and suggested that sitting could reduce life expectancy by around three years.
This, despite flourishing remote work micromanagement, with surveillance technologies enabling employers to time tasks and peek at workers’ screens.
Let’s stand around vacantly eating snacks.
Fix my charger