JPMorgan Tells Its Bankers to Take Weekends Off

JPMorgan Tells Its Bankers to Take Weekends Off

JPMorgan Chase’s new work-life balance policy encourages employees to step away from their work every weekend, as long as they’re not working on a “live” deal, the Guardian reports:

Carlos Hernandez, J.P. Morgan’s head of global banking, announced the policy Thursday on an internal call, saying the rules applied to everyone from analysts to managing directors, the firm said. The initiative, dubbed “Pencils Down,” is unusual in a high-powered corner of Wall Street where 100-hour weeks are considered by some as a badge of honor and dreaded by others as an antiquated aspect of the job that leads to early burnout. …

Mr. Hernandez said the policy is designed to get people out of the office and back home, or wherever they choose to relax. The firm isn’t imposing guidelines on how often employees should check their smartphones, but the expectation is that most weekends will be free of time-consuming work obligations unless a deal is breaking, which often happens on weekends.

JPMorgan’s previous policy gave employees “protected weekends,” ensuring that they could have one weekend a month to themselves. Solving for work-life balance issues has been a major concern for the notoriously stressful investment banking industry since 2013, when 21-year-old Bank of America Merrill Lynch intern Moritz Erhardt had an epileptic seizure and died after 72 straight hours at work. Erhardt’s death scandalized the industry and motivated its leaders to pay more attention to their overworked employees.