Citigroup Supports Employee Well-Being As Return-to-Office Plans Take Shape
Read: Q&A with Christine Discola from Citigroup
As Citi reopens its offices at 30% capacity this month, the company recognizes that this step is likely to cause some anxiety among employees, said Discola, noting that mental health support is a primary focus. in light of this. Throughout the pandemic, the organization has increased its maximums for mental health coverage and expanded the list of covered practitioners to include psychologists, clinical counselors, family therapists, marriage therapists, psychoanalysts and psychotherapists. It also rolled out a new virtual medical consultation service and expanded its wellness programs through webinars and online health and fitness classes.
The road to reopening has not always been easy, she notes. Indeed, the company has had to navigate rough waters due to the continuing waves of the pandemic. For example, Citi originally planned to reopen its doors to staff in September without requiring employees to be fully immunized. However, after receiving advice from their medical team and responding to the situation on the ground, the management team quickly changed their position, only inviting those vaccinated to return to the office and postponing the return date to November 1.
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Knowing that the company puts the health and safety of employees first gives employees a sense of security when they return to work in the office, she says. A recent survey by Citi found that the majority of its employees are vaccinated and willing to share their status – anyone returning to the workplace has.
All of the decisions that drive Citi employees back to the office are rooted in evolving medical data, science, and advice from healthcare professionals, in addition to government mandates and advice, explains Discola. She adds that the guiding principles the company put in place at the start of the public health crisis – transparency in communications, health and safety and employee well-being – remain. “Most importantly, we base our decisions on medical data, not on arbitrary dates.”
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As the company welcomes employees back to the workplace, it is also launching a series of mental health training programs for its business leaders on recognizing the signs of anxiety and stress that employees may be feeling. when they re-acclimatize to work in person. While employees may wish to return to the office, Discola acknowledges that they may still feel anxious about returning. “We have packaged and prepared and are providing information to employees to help them with the wide range of concerns they may have.”
Returning to work is such an important decision, she says, noting that Citi listens to what its employees communicate about what they need, what works and what doesn’t. But she adds that the organization must also take into account what its future employees are saying, as they are an important source for getting the pulse of what the market considers the most important quality in an employer.
“We want to stay competitive, we want to retain our employees and keep them engaged, as well as attract new talent.”
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