Credit Suisse seeks to make Friday nights special for staff

Thu Jun 2, 2016 5:20am EDT
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By Freya Berry

LONDON (Reuters) - Credit Suisse has told its staff to leave work by 7pm on a Friday and not return until at least Saturday lunchtime, unless a big deal is in the works.

Dubbed "Protecting Friday Night", the Swiss bank's initiative is part of a wider drive by investment banks to soften their workaholic image and stop talented staff leaving for jobs in other areas such as technology or private equity.

In an email dated May 23, Credit Suisse told its staff in the EMEA investment banking and capital markets department that they should leave the office by 7pm on a Friday and not return until at least midday on Saturday -- unless a major deal is launching or imminent, bank insiders told Reuters.

Such instructions may seem outlandish to people working in other industries, where leaving work on a Friday and having a drink with friends or a family meal is still the norm.

But for bankers, particularly juniors, who frequently find themselves working into the small hours on Fridays and at weekends, the diktat may bring some relief.

"We have given a great deal of thought into how we can provide some time off for our bankers," said Marisa Drew, co-head of EMEA Investment Banking and Capital Markets Division said, adding that Credit Suisse had sought feedback, in particular from junior staff, on weekends and work-life balance.

"(This allows)...employees to make firm plans with family and friends and ensures that this time will be respected."

Credit Suisse is not alone in trying to improve the lot of its employees, with the focus shifting from pay and bonuses.   Continued...

A Swiss bank Credit Suisse sign is pictured in Geneva, Switzerland, March 11, 2016.  REUTERS/Denis Balibouse