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Insights / Employers - 7 minutes

Can a Four-Day Working Week Boost Productivity? Atom bank

Rooted in the pursuit of an enhanced work-life balance and employee well being, the four-day working week has gained momentum across various industries. As organisations such as Atom Bank embrace this progressive concept, it invites a reevaluation of how we define and structure our professional lives in a rapidly evolving global economy.

Can a Four-Day Working Week Boost Productivity? Atom bank


Tech Talent Engine


In 2021, Atom bank announced it would be moving towards a four-day working week for its employees with no compromise on salary.

At the time, this move was a brave decision and the prospect of a four-day working week was still relatively unknown, with only major companies such as Hutchinson and Unilever experimenting with shorter workweeks.

Ultimately, this bold step by Atom was a catalyst for broader conversations about reimagining the conventional workweek and fostering a more adaptable approach to work.

Rob McCusker, Talent Acquisition Lead at Atom, explains the impact the four-day working week has had.

Can a four-day week work?

After breaking the 500 employees mark early this year, Atom proves that a successful business can still flourish under a four-day working week.

Like many other organisations, the pandemic forced them to reinvent themselves and think of new methods to improve satisfaction with their staff, with a strong work-life balance at the forefront of progression.

After the pandemic, we were keen to look at ways of improving things for our employees. Here at Atom, we know that work is important, but we equally understand the importance of being able to sustain healthy lives outside of work – these two go hand in hand.

In November 2021, Atom began a trial to see if the four-day working week was sustainable for all stakeholders. As a fast-moving organisation, this approach was multi-faceted, including forums and regular meetings to frequently assess challenges, obstacles, and opportunities.

So, what happened next?

Aside from the increase in employee satisfaction, Atom also witnessed an incredible 500% increase in applications. At the time, this gave them a huge advantage, especially since many employers were experiencing difficulties trying to hire talent into the business. When asked why, Rob explains,

We wanted to be the type of organisation that says, what can we do that’s different?

A reflection of core values

As the largest UK business and the first UK bank to take this step towards a reduced week, this bold move was an inspiration to others. However, Rob explains it represented so much more than this.

In everything we do, we’re always trying to be as efficient as we can be. Whether that’s shortening meetings or finding inefficiencies, this ability to pivot to changing needs reflects our business values at its core.

The world is constantly changing, and this growth will never slow down. It’s up to companies to react and change their offering so it suits modern times.

Reflecting on this flexibility, Atom understands how complex our lives have become. Whether it’s attending a doctor's appointment or catering to childcare, they understand the importance of accommodating the diverse and dynamic needs of their colleagues.

Alongside an enhanced maternity package, Atom also offers £200 towards developing a skill and private medical insurance.

This commitment to its staff and their development emphasises Atom’s dedication to fostering a thriving and empowered workspace, ensuring that employees are equipped with the support and resources needed for both personal and professional growth.

Productivity levels and workload – what’s changed?

Since incorporating the 34-hour working week, Atom has noticed two immediate effects. Firstly, 92% of people look forward to work and secondly, there has been a 49% increase in applications for roles at Atom Bank.

In addition to these positive statistics, switching to a four-day working week has been a huge motivator for employees and Atom’s great work-life balance is a key contributor to this.

With employee burnout on the rise, this seemingly low-risk move by Atom has reaped huge rewards, reducing stress in the workplace, and improving job satisfaction across the board.

A recent report by Indeed demonstrated that 52% of all workers feel burnt out due to work-related stress, with 67% of all workers believing burnout has worsened during the pandemic.

These statistics emphasise not only the importance employers play in overall job satisfaction but stress the importance organisations play in safeguarding employees from work-related mental health issues.

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The candidate market has changed

Atom’s dedication to providing a productive yet healthy workplace is an inspiration to many others in the North East tech scene.

In recent years, there has been a notable shift in the candidate market as individuals increasingly prioritise a healthy work-life balance when considering employment opportunities.

Companies that promote a strong work-life balance are finding themselves in high demand among job seekers, with candidates actively seeking environments that foster personal and professional equilibrium. Amidst this change, Tech Talent Engine is supporting North East businesses that are looking to upscale, increase brand awareness and connect with a cohort of talented professionals.

Any local business can access fully funded support, whether it's re-writing your employer value proposition, providing internal training, or finding new candidates. Simply sign up today to create your free account today.

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