It looks like the sun will be shining on the beach for a bunch of Citigroup bankers after an announcement that the investment bank intends to open a new hub in the Spanish resort of Málaga.
The bank has selected twenty-seven analysts from more than 3,000 applicants for the two-year programme. Promising eight-hour days and work-free weekends, it aims to distinguish itself from the seven-day working weeks common for young staff in London and New York.
By locating it in Málaga Citi is seeking to offer a more alluring lifestyle and a different path into banking for those less keen to return to a city-centre office in Canary Wharf or Manhattan after the pandemic.
Some 86% of companies taking part in a trial of a four-day working week have said they are likely to extend the policy beyond the six-month test period here . More than 70 organisations, from small independent stores to larger companies covering a variety of sectors, signed up for the trial, which began in June, with more than 3,300 workers taking part.
It is being run by the non-profit 4 Day Week Global in partnership with think tank Autonomy, researchers at Boston College and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, as well as the 4 Day Week Campaign. Joe O’Connor, chief executive of 4 Day Week Global, said: “We are learning that for many it is a fairly smooth transition and for some there are some understandable hurdles, especially among those that have comparatively fixed or inflexible practices, systems or cultures dating back well into the last century.”
Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Callum Borchers reports on how some companies are erecting new partitions to give employees some separation from one another in a bid to lure back workers who dislike ‘open’ offices and the ‘hot’ desk system that businesses adopted for hybrid staff to drop into reopened office buildings. Kristi Buchler, principal at Interior Architects, which helps companies plan workspaces, says “seated privacy” is the latest buzzword in office design.
Many new cubicles in formerly open setups feature low walls topped with glass, which offer workers a sense of solitude when sitting - “But I can still pop my head up and easily go, ‘Oh, my colleague just got here. Great! I had a question for them,’” she says. But this doesn’t mean companies are reverting to a ’90s-era cubicle culture, Borchers notes.