Charity Bank takes part in four-day week pilot

Charity Bank is joining the boom in flexible working options by offering its staff the option of working a four-day week.

The move is being piloted by the bank as part of a six-month worldwide programme coordinated by flexible working organization 4 Day Week Global and involving 70 UK firms.

As part of the pilot staff will be able to reduce their working week from 35 hours to 28 hours for the same pay and benefits. It is the first UK bank to move to a four-day week.

Tackling ‘presenteeism’ is a factor in the decision, says the specialist social change savings bank. Presenteeism leaves employees at risk of burnout by turning up to work even when they are ill.

“As an ethical bank we are constantly looking at ways to deliver increased societal impact through our values-driven approach - that's what makes the four-day working week such a good fit for us,” said the bank’s chief executive Ed Siegel.

“We have long been a champion of flexible working, but the pandemic really moved the goalposts in this regard. We’ve all seen the benefits, and the experience has led us to reassess what good looks like. For Charity Bank the move to a four-day workweek seems a natural next step.”

“With a meaningful redesign of the way we work, we expect to improve efficiency without affecting productivity whilst enhancing the physical and mental health of our colleagues. In essence, a happier and healthier workforce is more productive and delivers superior customer service which enables us to do more for the charities and social enterprises we exist to serve.

He added: “The 20th-century concept of a five-day working week is no longer the best fit for 21st-century business.

“We firmly believe that a four-day week with no change to salary or benefits will create a happier workforce and will have an equally positive impact on business productivity, customer experience and our social mission.”

Among charities to introduce a four-day week for staff is Community Integrated Care. Last year it announced that head office and support function staff can condense their normal working hours into four days. Home working options were also included in this offer to staff.

Another charity sector organisation to make the move to a four-day week last year is Directory of Social Change.

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