BUSINESS

Atom Bank Moves to Four-Day Work Week

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The online British bank called Atom Bank has just introduced a four-day work week without cutting pay for their 430 employees on Tuesday 23rd November 2021, making them the largest UK company so far to do this. Staff are expected to now work 34 hours over the course of four days, then have Monday or Friday off; previously, they worked 37.5 hours across the entire week. Mark Mullen, who has led Atom Bank since 2014, said that the pandemic inspired him to do this, as it would help to improve wellbeing and retain staff.

The policy took effect on the 1st of November of this year and was introduced to support the staff’s “mental and physical wellbeing”, as well as improve productivity. “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 Bank CEO Mark Mullen said in a statement.

Although this change is voluntary, this would mean that employees are expected to work slightly longer days; the company reported that a majority of the staff have switched to the new work week. Mark Mullen added, “Before Covid, the conventional wisdom was you had to commute in, sit at a desk all day and repeat that process when you commuted home. Covid showed us that it wasn’t necessary. I think doing 9-5, Monday to Friday is a pretty old-fashioned way of working.”

Atom Bank launched in 2016 as a mobile bank, offering savings accounts, business loans, and mortgages through the app. The company was one of the UK’s first digital challenger banks and had £2.7bn of loans on its books in the last financial year.

Working patterns have changed a lot over time, as in the 19th Century, most British people worked six days a week until the 1930s; Henry Ford in the US and the pharmacy chain Boots in the UK popularised the two-day weekend as a way of boosting wellbeing and productivity. Now, we are looking at a company that has switched to a four-day work week, saying that this change will improve people’s lives.

This change may decrease stress by a lot, and if other companies follow, then there will be a huge impact on working lifestyles across the country, including global impact, especially if others abroad pick this change up.

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