The recent announcement from Atom Bank that it is shifting to a four-day working week may come as a surprise for some, and a welcome step for others. It’s a move that may have seemed radical a few years ago, but in the post-Covid era where hybrid working is the new normal, it’s seen as a more forward-thinking approach.
It also provides an excellent opportunity for us to re-establish one of the core principles that Mór was founded on.
Since day one, we have employed a four-day working week. It was important for us to introduce this from the inception and make it clear that this was a core principle in which we believe.
The inspiration for introducing a four-day working week has been made clear in many studies and stories on the phenomenon. The positive results coming out of Iceland and Japan, as well as the introduction of the practice by the Scottish Government, all pointed to a positive outcome.
The main reasons for introducing it are also similar to almost all other businesses that have chosen to do so. These include:
- A better work-life balance for our employees, leading to an increased focus on mental health and wellbeing.
- A reduced environmental impact, by reducing commuting days and working from home.
- A belief that introducing these measures will stand to increase productivity and corporate pride, rather than reduce them.
Urchana Moudgil, Co-CEO and one of the initial proponents of the idea, says: “We are proud to be pioneering the four-day working week. We often say ‘we work to live and not live to work’; but how many of us actually do that? At Mór, we wanted to change the mindset and create an organisation and environment that actively encourages a positive work-life balance.”
“Prioritising employee welfare and creating a culture of positivity has been invaluable for productivity and the mental health and wellbeing of our team, who have embraced the four-day working week.
One of the major criticisms of the four-day week is the implementation, especially within established and enterprise businesses. How can you ensure that it is rolled out effectively? How do you change the attitudes of some employees who have worked in the business for potentially decades? And how do you ensure that it is welcomed from the top down, and that there is no unwritten requirement to still be online for five days?
Thankfully, we were in a position to begin the business with a four-day week, eliminating many of these concerns. It works for us, but only because the team fully invests in the idea and uses the four days in the office to their full potential
We understand from a management perspective it can seem potentially dangerous; however, when you have a trusted team that is pulling in the same direction, the number of days in the office is trivial.
The main aim of introducing a four-day working week shouldn’t be for praise from external sources. If you want to introduce the practice in order to position your business as radical, or as a trailblazer, or to be featured as a content topic of the week, then you are already choosing to do it for the wrong reasons.
From personal experience, the positives far outweigh the negatives, and it’s about looking inward in your business. By treating employees well, actively listening to what they want and taking action, you will increase staff retention and make your office a better place to work. And if introducing it helps to make it more commonplace and improve working standards across the country, then fantastic; however, it should always be about improving your employees’ lives and productivity, not the business perception.