An online bank in the UK, Atom Bank, has implemented a new four-day working week system for its 430 employees without reducing their salaries. This new initiative has been introduced in an effort to take care of the well-being of the employees during the pandemic. The way people work has evolved throughout time.
Most British workers worked six-day weeks in the nineteenth century, but in the 1930s, Henry Ford in the United States and pharmaceutical chain Boots in the United Kingdom popularized the two-day weekend as a method to improve wellbeing and productivity.
A new way of work
With this new initiative, Atom Bank employees would now work for 34 hours over four days and have Monday or Friday off, compared to 37.5 hours over the week previously. According to the boss Mark Mullen, it was inspired by the pandemic and would assist enhance employee wellbeing and retention. However, employees will be required to work longer hours on days when they are in. Mr Mullen said,
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 was one of the earliest digital challenger banks in the UK, with £2.7 billion in loans on its books last year. After an assessment, it was determined that the new working arrangements would not harm customer service or productivity. They went into effect on November 1st.
According to a recent study, trials of a four-day work week among public sector workers in Iceland were a huge success. It reduced stress and burnout. In 2019, Microsoft Japan reported that sales increased by over 40% as a result of an experiment in which employees worked a four-day week for full pay.
Mr Mullen stated that the new arrangement was voluntary, but it reflected his employees' need for more flexibility in their work schedules.
Everyone is expected to stick to it. I can't be sending my staff emails on a Friday, I can't expect them to respond to them.
On the other hand, some employers consider it to be unethical and would be too much of a challenge to incorporate.