A British bank has adopted a four-day work week for all its employees without cutting pay, saying it’s the largest UK company so far to make such a move.
Atom Bank announced on Tuesday that it had also reduced the weekly hours of its 430 staff to 34 from 37.5 and expected most workers to take either Monday or Friday off. The change is voluntary and would mean staff working slightly longer days.
The policy, which took effect on November 1, was introduced to support Atom’s employees’ “mental and physical well-being,” and improve productivity, the company said. The majority of its workers have switched to the new work week.
“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,” Atom CEO Mark Mullen said in a statement.
Mullen said that Atom’s experience during the pandemic had “exploded many of the myths of the modern workplace,” including the need to work in an office.
Atom launched in 2016 as a mobile bank. It offers savings accounts, business loans and mortgages via its app.
Workers have long clamored for a greater work-life balance. Two studies in Iceland between 2015 and 2019 trialling a four-day work week at the same rate of pay found no corresponding drop in productivity among participants, and a dramatic increase in employee well-being.
And as the pandemic pushed millions into remote work, calls for increased flexibility have only grown louder.
Elephant Ventures, a software and data engineering company in New York City, said it had permanently moved to a four-day work week after successfully testing it in August 2020.
Mullen said the five-day work week, a relic of the 20th century, was “no longer fit for purpose” and he hoped that more companies would follow Atom’s lead.
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