Monzo launches paid sabbaticals as UK groups rethink work-life balance
Monzo Bank will offer three-month paid sabbaticals to its employees in the latest move by a British company to rethink how staff should balance their working lives after the pandemic.
The digital bank has told its 2,200 staff they can take sabbaticals for every four years they work, whereas previously they had the option of a month unpaid leave every year.
It follows Tom Blomfield, Monzo founder, stepping back from the company in 2021 in part owing to anxiety and stress of running the business during the pandemic.
Monzo is one of many companies in the UK reviewing working policies. Others are going even further as staff are increasingly demanding greater flexibility in their work life.
This week, three more UK companies agreed to implement four-day working weeks, a policy already in place at Monzo rival Atom Bank, as part of a wider trial by university academics.
Yo Telecom, alongside games developer Hutch and MBL Seminars, will join a growing group of companies to implement a four-day, 32-hour working week from the summer with no change in pay.
Nathan Hanslip, chief executive of Yo Telecom, said that “an additional day of rest that our team will benefit from will increase productivity, increase work satisfaction, and improve general wellbeing beyond what we have experienced in the past”.
Shaun Rutland, co-founder of Hutch Games, said that he has wanted to “build a business that actually treats people like humans, and that meant a ‘no-crunch’ culture and hybrid working as standard”.
In a different approach, building services group Arup has told its employees in the UK to spread their work hours over seven days, rather than between Monday and Friday, to give them greater freedom over taking time off.
These shifts to the traditional working week come as companies across the UK begin to encourage more staff to return to their offices and workplaces after the end of the government restrictions last week.
Bosses in the UK have told the Financial Times they expect many staff to return to their office this month, albeit with most implementing a form of flexible working with some days spent at home and a minimum number in the office.
Monzo has already introduced flexible hours for staff, who can work where they like as long as they are available for meetings or training in its offices in London and Cardiff when needed.
The online bank will encourage staff to use the three months sabbatical to take time out to travel or be with their families. Employees can take one month at a time or three months together every four years.
Tara Ryan, people experience director, said the time off could be “transformative” for its longer term employees. The move follows consultation with staff about what would work best for them.
Monzo has also introduced a pregnancy loss policy to help people deal with the loss of a child, with 10 days leave offered to employees.