A FOUR-day working week is to be introduced at a manufacturing centre in Rugby Borough, after employees’ reactions were ‘overwhelmingly positive’ following a two-year trial.
The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) will permanently implement the four-day week as part of ‘flexible working measures’, after half of employees reported higher productivity during the trial.
The Ansty Park business will make its flexible working policies permanent from September for all 820 employees, with no reduction in salary.
Starting in April 2020, the Fully Flexible Working Week trial provided a range of flexible working arrangements – including a four-day week – to around 615 employees.
In a staff survey following the trial, 83 per cent of employees said they were happier, 42 per cent said their energy levels had increased, and 40 per cent experienced improvements in their mental health.
A separate external evaluation carried out by Loughborough University found the reaction from employees had been ‘overwhelmingly positive’ – and was a major draw for new recruits.
Vicki Sanderson, HR Director at the MTC, said: “We’ve been operating flexible working patterns since April 2018, but employee engagement surveys have shown that staff wanted to extend this further.
“We explored a range of options, including researching what was important for millennials and generation Z, as 79 per cent of our workforce fall into these categories. Work-life balance was the priority, and our survey results reflected this.
“The positive impact on staff was evident. After 12 months of the trial, 96 per cent wanted the Fully Flexible Working Week to be adopted permanently, and these changes have had a direct impact on improving the mental and physical wellbeing of our employees, while improving business productivity.
“We know that in manufacturing especially, it’s very difficult for some roles to be offered flexibly, for example, the opportunity for more home working. But other ways to do this should be considered, and our study has proved this is possible.”
The MTC will now work with industrial partners such as Rolls-Royce, Siemens and Meggitt to share data and the lessons that have been learnt from the trial.
The MTC also calculated 664 tonnes of carbon would be saved annually from all employees making one fewer journey to work each week, helping the company meet its sustainability goals.
MTC Chief Executive Dr Clive Hickman OBE said: “Flexible working has been the norm at the MTC long before the pandemic, but employees told us there was more we could do. The result is our Fully Flexible Working Week, including a four-day week, which I’m proud to be making permanent.
“The MTC is striving to become the most attractive employer in the country, and this is a big step towards achieving that.”
Dr Ella-Mae Hubbard, Lecturer at Loughborough University and author of the external evaluation, said: “It is clear from our study that there are strong feelings about the trial. For the MTC employees, the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive and for newer members of staff, these new policies were one of the main reasons that they joined the MTC.”