• This week's TOP 5 trends from the world of work focuses on how Atom Bank has given its workers a four-day working week, on the same pay.
  • It also covers the rise in female gig workers, and a new potential solution to the supply chain issue.
  • And: why some companies are branding themselves as being in the 'tech' industry to bid for higher evaluation.

One UK bank is diving headfirst into the new world of work. Atom Bank has officially become the UK’s largest employer to introduce the four-day work week – without cutting employees’ pay.

The bank’s chief executive put it best: “We believe the 20th century concept of a five-day week is, in many cases, no longer fit for purpose for 21st century businesses.”

What else matters this week?

Cosmetics retailer Lush is quitting social media. Is it about to be trendy to be anti-social?

Hang onto your hats, coffee addicts. Your daily cup of Joe is about to get a little more expensive.

It may seem harmless to throw yourself into your work, non-stop, but the dangers of overworking are very real.

Will Apple revolutionize the self-driving car industry?

Norway’s campaign to get its citizens to adopt electric cars may have been a little too effective.

We’ve got a full breakdown of all the top headlines you can’t miss this week.

#1. Women are turning to gig work for flexibility amid the pandemic.

Kara Moore, mom of three, returned to the workforce last year after nine years as a stay-at-home mom. But she found that she struggled to find a job, even after a decade working in corporate America.

Instead, she took a job with a local school district.

But when the pandemic hit, her role was eliminated. Instead, she signed up to work at Instacart. She now makes five times what she did at her previous position.

"If I was working in an office, corporate-style job, I would be paying for daycare and I wouldn't have been able to afford it," Moore told ABC News. "Now I'm home every night with my daughters. I'm able to take them to sports and be home with them for homework. I can take off if my kids are sick."

Moore is one of many women who moved to the gig economy during the pandemic, motivated by the flexible schedule and the opportunity to make up for lost income.

"In the past year, more women than men are coming to DoorDash to make up for lost income and to cover expenses," said Elizabeth Jarvis-Shean, the company's vice president of communications and policy. "When you think about the pandemic and the disproportionate impact on women, it makes a lot of sense that a flexible schedule that allows them to set their own hours is something that can be appealing."

The perspective: Instant delivery services have the potential to create real jobs while meeting consumer needs efficiently. But if the gig economy is to offer the protections and job quality that workers rightfully expect, all stakeholders must embrace certain responsibilities that amount to a New Social Contract. Read our full report and whitepaper here.

#2. Could autonomous trucks be the answer to the global supply chain crisis?

Countries around the world are facing a key issue: truck driver shortages. In the U.S. alone, the country has an estimated 80,000 open positions for drivers. Many European countries are facing a similar predicament.

One possible solution? Autonomous trucks.

The idea of driverless trucks is growing in popularity as companies search for new and innovative ways to solve their staffing shortages and the accompanying disruptions to the global supply chains. Read more at the World Economic Forum.

a chart showing the driver shortage
A lack of trained drivers has fast become a global issue, affecting supply chains everywhere.
Image: IRU

#3. Caspar, Peloton, and WeWork… Are they really “tech” companies?

WeWork, Peloton, Sweetgreen and Caspar all have one thing in common: they’re branding themselves as “tech” companies in a bid for a higher valuation.

You may be thinking: but these businesses aren’t traditional tech companies. In fact, for some of these companies, their core business model isn’t based on technology at all.

The entire incentive start-up structure centers around rapidly gaining valuation. One way to do that? Presenting yourself as a tech company. Caspar, for example, is calling themselves a developer of sleep technologies.

New technology will of course change the way businesses work. New business models can transform the way people envision the future. But the fundamentals go away. History shows that buying the hype will cost you. Read the full analysis in the Wall Street Journal right here.

#4. Atom Bank becomes the largest UK company to introduce a four-day work week

A digital bank has become the UK’s largest employer to institute a four-day working week – with no change in employees’ salary. The company introduced the 34-hour working week option, spread over four days, this month.

A majority of the bank’s 430 staff have opted into the shortened working week. And for most employees, Mondays and Fridays will be the default days off.

“We believe the 20th century concept of a five day week is, in many cases, no longer fit for purpose for 21st century businesses,” Atom Bank chief executive Mark Mullen said. “Its introduction originally allowed for the establishment of the weekend, with all the benefits for employees this entailed. At Atom, we feel the time is right for the next evolution in the world of work.” Read more at the Evening Standard.

#5. More people are saying “y’all.”

Have you heard the term “y’all”?

This twang, Southern U.S. phrase, a contraction of “you all,” is ubiquitous part of Southern speech. For many people in the U.S., it has a certain connotation: a sense of down-home, hospitable friendliness.

But for decades, no one dared say the word “y’all” outside of the southern U.S. The phrase has exploded in popularity recently, however, even making its way overseas, for one primary reason: it’s inclusive.

Unlike other ways to refer to groups, like “guys” or “ladies and gentlemen,” the phrase “y’all” can refer to people of all gender identities. Read more at the BBC.