Fintech Atom Bank has switched to a four-day working week for all of its 430 employees without cutting salaries.
The Durham, UK, headquartered company said it wanted to give staff greater flexibility to reflect changing working practices that took place during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The digital lender has no physical branches and is accessible via a smartphone or tablet and has received a full UK regulatory licence.
Nearly all of Atom Bank’s employees have moved from working a 34-hour week over four days while receiving the same contracted salary as their former five-day, 37.5-hour week.
Employees can choose to take either Monday or Friday off. However, some staff working in operational and services roles will have to work one of these two days and take another day off instead to ensure there’s no business interruption.
Atom Bank launched its four-day working week on 1 November.
Building a healthier work-life balance
As the world of work continues to adapt following the pandemic, many businesses are reshaping their employment models. Companies across multiple sectors are struggling to fill vacant roles and are offering flexible working arrangements to secure top talent.
According to Mark Mullen, CEO at Atom Bank, the five-day workweek was rooted in the industrial demands of the early 20th century and is now outdated.
“We feel the time is right for the next evolution in the world of work,” Mullen said, adding that his employees would have more time to pursue their passions, spend time with their families and build a healthier work-life balance.
“We firmly believe that this will prove beneficial for our employees’ wellbeing and happiness and that it will have an equally positive impact on business productivity and customer experience,” he said.
Gaining momentum in the UK
The four-day work culture is not a new concept and workplaces globally have been toying with the idea for a while. In the UK, a four-day working week was introduced for staff at supermarket Morrisons. More than 1,500 workers at Morrisons’ head office benefitted from this major shake-up of working practices at the retail giant last year.
International recruitment firm MRL Consulting Group also trialed a four-day working week for staff based in the UK.
While the pandemic might increase the likelihood of some companies making the move to a four-day work week, it’s unclear yet if the trend will gain wider traction in the UK.