Atom Bank has this week adopted a four day working week, with slightly longer days and the reduction of staff hours from 37.5 to 34.   Most staff will now take either Friday or Monday off and their pay will remain the same.

The bank said in a statement that both research and the pandemic were behind the move:

“It’s said that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but the past two years have taught us how important it is that we’re able to spend quality time with our loved ones. On top of this, the extra stress brought on by working through a pandemic has forced many of us to re-evaluate the relationship between our jobs and our personal lives.

“A four-day week can help us achieve a better work-life balance, where our people have more time to focus on their home lives but still remain productive in their roles. This benefit is backed up by research: from 2015 to 2019, Icelandic companies trialled shorter weeks, with many workers reporting their work-life balance improved and that they had more time to spend with family, on hobbies and doing chores.

So will this become the norm?  We spoke to Alisa Mistry, HR advice manager at Charlie HR, who said:

“When considering a 4 day work week, it is certainly not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach and it may not work for every business. Employers may think introducing this type of flexibility is really attractive and appealing, but in reality it is a lot of work and hard to implement successfully without initial planning and consideration.

“The key message for employers is to not consider a 4 day work week without first setting the initial foundation which is needed – one of the most important elements of this foundation is building trust. A 4 day week approach should also not be adopted if there could be more impactful flexible working options for a business. It is important to first understand what employees want and need, and what type of flexible working arrangements would suit them.”


By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.