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Atom boss says four-day working week has led to spike in job applications

The CEO of Atom Bank says the switch to a four-day week has been "overwhelmingly" backed by staff, with 90% plus of staff switching to the new working week model.

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Mark Mullen/Atom Bank.

The boss of the biggest UK company to introduce a four-day working week says it has seen a spike in job applications, following the move.

Last month, Atom Bank introduced a four-day week for its 430 staff without cutting pay.

From 1 November, employees were given the option of working 34 hours over four days, getting Monday or Friday off.

Previously, they worked up to 37.5 hours across the week.

Atom CEO Mark Mullen told AltFi: “In one week last month, we received as many applications for jobs at Atom as we generally receive in a month."

“Will that be sustainable? We shall see. But it’s pretty interesting that people do respond to a different proposition that they can live a different life around."

“I think we can attract employees who have a different value set."

Mullen said that staff have “overwhelmingly” switched to the new model, saying the percentage of staff working the new hours amounted to 90 per cent plus.

“There is no material deviation from it,” he added.

Mullen said the “vast majority” of staff were working from home and that the bank had “no plans imminent or otherwise to change that”.

As a further example of the early success of the scheme, Mullen pointed to customer feedback which he said had not taken a knock.

He said Atom’s Net Promoter Score—which gauges customer loyalty and advocacy—had shown “no detrimental impact” while its TrustPilot rating had not been negatively impacted.

Mullen said he thought the four-day a week could lend itself to other industries.

“I don’t think necessarily think there is any special sauce that makes Atom perfect for this type of initiative. I think it’s more widely available than that.”

Atom began exploring such a change after hearing the strong preferences of its employees for more flexible work.

It conducted a review process of its customer service and operations, looking at productivity, effectiveness, resources and impact on external partners, finding that there were no risks. 

“While we appreciate a four-day working week will not be right for all workplaces, the move to working from home has proved that working practices that may have seemed years away can be introduced rapidly,” Mullen said when announcing the change.

“With Covid-19 causing vast numbers of people to reconsider how they want to live their lives, anything that leads to more productive,  healthier, and, crucially, happier colleagues, is a win for everyone.”

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