UBS bankers get two hours of personal time every week in bid to improve work-life balance

Josh Martin
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Over 6,000 bankers to "take two" (Source: Getty)

Bankers and work-life balance don't go hand in hand - but UBS is trying to change that.

Over 6,000 people working at UBS' investment banking division globally are set to get two hours of "personal time" every week as part of the bank's "take two" initiative.

The scheme, that was started by investment bank president Andrea Orcel following a staff survey, is being implemented to reduce stress levels and lighten workloads of bankers.

Launched on 4 May, the scheme offers at least two hours of personal time to bankers provided their co-workers are happy to cover for them.

Speaking to Reuters, Orcel said: "Our industry is often criticised for poor work-life balance, so we asked our employees to come up with ideas and find solutions to the issues that matter to them.

"You can't force people to work longer or shorter hours: people don't like being forced.

"All you can ask for is that they get their job done, but at the same time grant them enough find a balance that works for them," Orcel added.

Read more: City bosses urged to tackle stress among employees

In a survey by Unite in December last year, three out of four bank employees admitted to workplace stress manifested by anxiety attacks, insomnia, headaches and depression.

Around two-thirds of respondents said they were stressed due to heavier workloads while around a fifth blamed pressure to perform. Also, 72 per cent said they were considering quitting their jobs as a result.

In 2011, Lloyds boss Antonio Horta-Osorio took two months off after suffering sleep deprivation and exhaustion.

Two year later Hector Sants, who was at the time head of compliance at Barclays, took medical leave citing stress issues and then subsequently resigned.

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