By Oliver Smith on Tuesday 23 November 2021
Aka a 3-day weekend.
Lender Atom Bank says it is the largest company in Britain to introduce a four-day working week, rolling out the change for all of its 430 employees.
Unlike other companies who offer such a benefit, Atom says it won’t be reducing salaries as part of the change, even though weekly working hours will fall from 37 to 34.
The change was also optional from 1 November, with the majority of Atom’s staff deciding to switch to the new working week.
“We believe the 20th-century concept of a five day week is, in many cases, no longer fit for purpose for 21st-century businesses,” said CEO Mark Mullen, pointing out that the 5-day working week only became standard in the 1930s after Boots the chemist adopted it.
“A four-day week will provide our employees with more opportunities to pursue their passions, spend time with their families, and build a healthier work/life balance.”
It does mean that employees will be working an extra hour on those four working days, working around 8.5 hours a day, versus the 7.4 hours they worked previously.
Atom began exploring such a change after hearing the strong preferences of its employees for more flexible work.
It conducted a review process of its customer service and operations, looking at productivity, effectiveness, resources and impact on external partners, finding that there were no risks.
“While we appreciate a four-day working week will not be right for all workplaces, the move to working from home has proved that working practices that may have seemed years away can be introduced rapidly,” added Mullen.
“With Covid-19 causing vast numbers of people to reconsider how they want to live their lives, anything that leads to more productive, healthier, and, crucially, happier colleagues, is a win for everyone.”