Live to work, not work to live: Celebrating two years of our four-day week

23 November 2023

Inside Atom

Team Atom
Team Atom
Five day week scribbled out and replaced with four day week

On 1st September 2021, everyone at Atom came together for the end of summer edition of “Up N Atom”, our regular all hands meeting. A few were there in person, but most of the team logged onto the feed from their home offices, sofas or kitchen tables.

Nobody was quite ready for the announcement that was to come.

That was the day that we first heard out about our four-day week trial, which kicked off two months later on 1st November 2021. It’s safe to say that this new pattern of work has transformed the way we operate for the better. We even measured its impact and got these amazing results, so we’ve got the numbers to prove it!

Now, two years on, we’re celebrating the work-life balance side of the four-day week. Instead of rolling out a new batch of statistics, we’re instead focusing on the individual stories of how it’s changed lives and work here at Atom.

Actually, we lied — there’s one stat, but it’s a heartwarming one, we promise!

Okay, let’s hear that heartwarming stat…

We asked our people if they felt that the four-day week had given them an improved work-life balance. Overwhelmingly, 95% of Atom employees said that this was the case.

Obviously, this is a stat that puts a smile on our face. But it’s also a huge vindication that moving to a four-day week was the right decision for us as a business.

Want more heartwarming stuff? Let’s hear from some of our people about how the four-day week has changed their lives and the way they work.

What does the four-day week mean to Team Atom?

Mohammed Randeree, Operational Resilience & TPRM Lead

The four day work week has done wonders for motivation, work ethic and productivity within my team. I get a real sense of pride in the fact that we are able to make a four-day work week work without compromising on our ability to deliver against our strategy.

*Our people feel a greater sense of loyalty being part of an organisation that instils trust and belief in the capabilities of each other and our ability to do things differently and better. There is a sense of gratitude for having the extra time to manage your personal life, spend time with loved ones or taking time to relax and keep healthy. *

A personal highlight for me was being able to run the Amsterdam marathon with my Dad and flex my working pattern without having to take time off.

My team turns up every week refreshed and enthused about coming to work and this reflects in our interactions.

Rachael Mclauchlan, Chief Data Officer

A four-day week has been transformational in enabling me to juggle the most important parts of my life and bring energy and enthusiasm to both my career and personal life.

Outside of being a CDO in a fast-paced digital bank, I am lucky enough to have quality time and fun with my awesome family and friends! The extra day a week can make for a lovely mini-break, space for personal interests or just time to do the life tasks that are normally too difficult to squeeze into a working week.

As a type 1 diabetic, I also feel the benefits from a health and happiness perspective, as I can dedicate that little bit extra time to myself!

The four-day week, combined with Atom’s flexible hybrid working, genuinely supports a busy working woman to find some harmony in trying to “do it all”.

Robbie Steel, Head of PR and Internal Communications

The four-day week has been a revelation! What I do on my day off varies, and can be as mundane as getting the washing done, but having that time gives me so much freedom.

For me it often serves as a chance to catch up on emails, do some thinking or complete some professional development.

Having no calls or emails coming in and knowing I can get up from my desk and take the dog for a walk if I want, means it feels much more relaxed. I often find some of my best ideas come on a Friday thinking about the things I was too busy for during the week!

Tom Renwick, Head of Business Lending

The four-day week has been transformative in improving work-life balance in a sector well known for burnout. It’s allowed my team to live happier and more fulfilled lives.

Since introducing the four-day week into the employee value proposition, we’ve seen our ability to attract and retain high quality people increase exponentially. Everyone is fascinated by what we are doing here.

Ian Scotland, Senior Site Reliability Engineer

The team is enjoying the four-day week. The extra hour a day doesn’t feel like a dramatic difference. More importantly, a three-day weekend feels like the sweet spot, as it gives you time to decompress and switch off — the team are raring to go on our Monday stand-up!

When it comes to how the team is managed, we haven’t changed dramatically. Prior to four days we always made use of the interactive tools we have. We have seen a reduction in the number of meetings we have, which is always a bonus.

Anne-Marie Warner, Service Support Manager

I have a large team, so I’ve split coaching sessions over two weeks. We can have longer, more in-depth discussions, rather than just grabbing 15 mins a week because we feel we have too. We’ve learned that it’s not the frequency but the quality of the conversations that counts.

Trying to keep that ‘family’ feel whilst working reduced hours can be challenging when the volume of work is the same, but the key is communicating with each other, messaging regularly, meetings or face to face, being upfront when you aren’t going to meet a deadline and sharing the load within the team.

Inspired by our four-day week stories?

If you’ve read some of the accounts from our team and felt inspired, then we’ve got some great news! We’re recruiting in a number of positions across the business, so there’s a good chance that there’s a role there to suit you.

Head over to our careers page to browse our vacancies and submit your application.