Atom Bank moves to four-day week with no cut in pay

Online bank Atom Bank has switched to a four-day working week for its 430 employees without cutting their pay.

The bank said that staff now work a shortened 34-hour week over four days, when previously they clocked up 37.5 hours across five days.

The Durham-based company made the change at the start of November “in recognition of the strong preference workers have for the opportunity to work flexibly” in the wake of the pandemic.

“To put it simply, we recognise that work as we know it has changed, and the patterns that served us in the past may no longer be the right fit,” Atom explained in a blog post. “People are looking for something more from their roles, work practices have changed and we believe that switching to a four-day working week can deliver a variety of benefits that have the potential to be life-changing for our team.”

These benefits are expected to include an improved work-life balance and a greater focus on health and wellbeing — giving staff the time they need to spend with family, on hobbies and doing chores as well as care for their own physical and mental wellbeing.

A shorter working week is also associated with an increase in efficiency and productivity and a reduced environmental impact.

“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,” chief executive Mark Mullen told the BBC.

“Covid showed us that it wasn’t necessary… I think doing 9-5, Monday to Friday is a pretty old fashioned way of working.”