Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

After a four-day week, Atom Bank moved for its 430 employees, the largest company to make such a move in the UK since the pandemic forced a rethink on how useful it is to force people back into the office force.

The changes, which began in early November, reduced the working week at Atom from 37.5 to 34 hours without affecting salaries. Atom said the majority of workers made the change, but those who continue to work for five days will also benefit from reduced hours.

“People have been working for over 50 years, these are multiple marathons, so we’re asking how we can keep our people engaged and keep ourselves healthy,” Mark Mullen, Atom’s CEO, told the Financial Times. “I’m very excited about it – there’s no going back.”

Atom said it expects most staff to take off on Mondays or Fridays, although customer-oriented roles or those maintaining technical infrastructure are expected to differ on what days they are on the clock.

While Atom is the largest company to fully transition to a four-day week, several large companies are either engaged in trials or have adopted it in parts of their organization.

Supermarket chain Wm Morrison said last July it would set up a four-day week for employees at its Bradford headquarters, while consumer company Unilever to test the measure in New Zealand since late 2020.

Mullen said that studies from Europe, including Iceland, which analyzed the effect of reducing working hours from 40 to 35 or 36, indicate that there was no deterioration in the performance of their business while increasing productivity.

“We moved our entire bank to homework in a weekend without any disruption to customers, and it opens your mind to what you thought was impossible,” he added.

However, Mullen said that while it is easy to urge all companies to take similar measures, it is important not to be dogmatic: “We do not have to say this is the only way we can do things people want. have choice and flexibility. ”

The app-based lender reported a pre-tax loss of £ 62 million in the 12 months to 31 March 2021, compared to £ 66 million in 2020. However, total assets remained flat at £ 2.8 billion. Mullen said Atom reached its first quarter of operating profit between July and September, five months ahead of schedule.

In early November, Atom announced a £ 500m deal with mortgage lender Landbay as it sought to return the market to take advantage of the continued high demand from homebuyers. His mortgage book in the 12 months to March 31 amounted to £ 1 billion, partly due to the pandemic, compared to £ 1.7 billion in 2019-20.

“Landbay as a deal is an opportunity to work with a company with proven skills in a specific area,” Mullen said. “We have a banking license and a balance sheet, so there are good synergies.”

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