Online lender Atom Bank has decided to make its four-day working week permanent after a successful trial.
The company was one of around 70 organisations to take part in a formal trial, monitored by academics from Oxford and Cambridge Universities, think tank Autonomy and Boston College.
It had already begun trialling shorter working hours in November 2021 in a bid to improve work-life balance for employees.
In August, it reported the trial had been “overwhelmingly positive”, resulting in 49% more applications to work there, and a reduction in attrition.
Now that a year’s trial is up, it has reported job applications up by a third and departures down by a fifth.
Customer goodwill has also increased, according to the bank, with scores up from 83 to 87. It is rated third highest among UK banks on Trustpilot.
Chief people officer Anne-Marie Lister, said the shift had not been without challenges, but was “one of the most transformative things we’ve done as a company”.
“Since we launched our trial in November 2021, we have not only seen a more productive, healthier, and, crucially, happier workforce, but our customer service metrics are at record highs and more people are looking to start a career with Atom,” she said.
“It took a lot of planning, communication and listening to make it work, but having started out as a pilot we have now confirmed the new working structure into people’s contracts.
“Sceptics may argue that a business couldn’t grow under a four-day week, however this year has been one of continued progress and development at Atom. Customers have flocked to the bank in record numbers and the service we have offered them remains among the best in the country.”
Some of the challenges associated with a four-day working week include finding sufficient staff cover if the business is open to customers for five or more days; working out revised holiday allowances and changes to contracts.
Atom is the first of the organisations in the trial to announce a permanent move to four days. Earlier this week, Spain launched its own pilot project to help small and medium-sized companies to reduce the working week by at least half a day without cuts to salaries.
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