April 17, 2021

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RBC’s McKay gives staff a day off with workers more ‘exhausted’ than ever

3 min read

Employees also get free subscription to meditation app Headspace

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Royal Bank of Canada is giving employees an extra paid day off this year, and its top executive acknowledged that staff are more burned out now than at any time during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief Executive Officer Dave McKay said in companywide memo on Thursday that many employees have said they’re exhausted and that the bank needs to “eliminate the stigma associated with asking for time to focus, concentrate, and in some cases, log off and recharge.”

Burnout has become a more pressing issue for financial firms as the pandemic moves into its second year and some lines of business, including mergers and acquisitions, see a sustained boom in activity.

Last month, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO David Solomon said the firm would improve enforcement of a rule designed to ensure junior bankers don’t have to work on Saturdays. His memo came after junior analysts gave managers a presentation showing that some worked 100 hours in a week.

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RBC, Canada’s largest lender, is also giving its roughly 86,000 employees worldwide a free, one-year subscription to Headspace, a meditation and sleep app. An annual subscription costs $69.99, according to Headspace’s website.

“Beyond this extra day off, we recognize the ongoing pressures of the pandemic, especially for those in regions that have reverted back into lockdown,” McKay said in the memo. Those regions include RBC’s home province of Ontario, which declared a statement of emergency on Wednesday for the third time since the beginning of the pandemic.

The CEO encouraged the bank’s employees to take their vacation time and to book the extra off day with their managers. He said that during the pandemic, he has taken a couple of vacations and used them to spend more time outside, learn new songs on his guitar and read more than he has in years.

“I encourage all of you to prioritize your personal time and continue to be mindful about work-life boundaries wherever possible,” McKay wrote.

Bloomberg.com

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Bloomberg News

2021-04-08 11:22:35

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