UK bank transitions to four-day work week to boost employee well-being
- Atom Bank, headquartered in Durham, has shifted to a four-day work week
- Employees will be working 8.5 hours per day for four days a week
- The bank has not seen any decline in productivity as a result of the shift
A bank in the United Kingdom has transitioned to a four-day work week without impacting pay of employees thereby initiating a much-awaited change in work formats. Atom Bank, headquartered in Durham, is the biggest UK firm to make the transition.
Working hours of the bank’s 430 employees have been slashed from 37.5 to 34. Therefore, instead of working 7.5 hours every day for five days a week, employees will now be required to work 8.5 hours a day four days a week. The change is voluntary and most employees are expected to take either Fridays or Mondays off.
The four-day work week pattern came into effect on November 1. According to the bank, the transition is aimed at ensuring mental and physical well-being of employees. “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,” said Atom CEO Mark Muellen in a statement.
Launched in 2016 as a mobile bank, Atom provides savings accounts, business loans and mortgages through its app. The bank CEO told CNN that Atom has not witnessed a decrease in productivity so far but understands that it will take time for people to adjust.
“If you’ve just spent 20 years in one model and, all of a sudden, you’re thrown into a new one, you wake up on a Friday morning you thin ‘what am I going to do with all this time?” said Mullen.
The four-day work week has been a long-standing demand for workers. The clamour for reduced number of days has only increased during the pandemic. Further, there is no evidence that links reduced productivity with reduced number of working days.
In fact, two studies carried out in Iceland between 2015 and 2019 which tried a four-day work week saw no corresponding decline in productivity but a dramatic increase in employee well-being.