Atom Bank hails positive impact of four-day working week

Atom Bank hails positive impact of four-day working week

Six months after introducing a four day working week, Atom Bank says the measure has proved overwhelmingly positive in terms of both job satisfaction and productivity.

In November 2021, Atom bank took a progressive lead in reshaping the future of work, becoming the largest UK business, and the first UK bank, to move all employees to a four-day working week, with no change of salary.

Recent headlines have called into question the feasibility of the four-day working week, reporting challenges experienced at some companies who are trialling the new structure. However, over six months on from its introduction, Atom reveals the shift has had a clear impact a shorter working week has had on employees, customer service, and operations.

One objective of the introduction of a four-day week was to attract and retain talent more effectively. Atom has resported a 49% increase in job applications in January 2022, compared to January 2021, and headcount has grown from 461 in November 2021 to 480 in June 2022, thanks also to a reduction in the number of departures.

Atom says this has been vital, with the fight for talent becoming fiercely competitive following the widespread adoption of hybrid working following the pandemic.

Contrary to much of the scepticism around the shift, employee surveys reveal that almost all (91%) people can accomplish everything they need to in four days, says the bank. Employee productivity has in fact improved, with nearly all (92%) staff stating that they have found efficiencies in how they work as a result of the shorter week. This has included streamlining processes and working more collaboratively within to ensure tasks are completed.

Productivity levels have also been measured by each department in relation to business outcomes. These metrics are specific to each of the 10 departments within Atom and measure productivity in terms of business performance and service to customers. For example, in Operations, 10 metrics are measured, including service levels and email responses to customers. The data collated for the six months to April reveals that across all of the 165 departmental metrics tracked, the success rate has in fact improved since the introduction of the shorter working week.

Days lost to sickness have also declined since the introduction of the new working structure, dropping from 100 in the month of November 2021, to 72 in June 2022.

Anne-Marie Lister, chief people officer at Atom, says: “Over six months on from introducing our new four-day working week, it’s clear that it has been a huge success for our business and our people.

“Moving to a four-day week has meant a fundamental shift in our operating model and working practice. We did not expect that it would be easy, and knew there would be challenges along the way. That’s why we have adopted the mindset that we need to work hard to overcome these difficulties in order to make the shift work. Our business and people have benefited from this persistence, which is certainly required if you are to challenge traditional ways of working that have been in place for almost 100 years."

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