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Manufacturing Technology Centre permanently implements four-day work week

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Half of employees report higher productivity with new arrangement

The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) has just announced a decision to implement a four-day work week for its 820 employees with no reduction in salary.

Following a large-scale, two-year trial the company took the decision in response to positive employee feedback. According to a staff survey:

  • 83% of employees reported that they were happier
  • 50% of employees felt that they were more productive
  • 42% reported increased energy levels
  • 40% experienced better mental health

According to MTC’s calculations, the new flexible working arrangement will save 664 tonnes of carbon each year, helping the company meet its sustainability goals.

The trial began in April 2020 and gave 615 employees across the organisation a variety of  flexible working arrangements – one of which was a four-day week.

Alongside the employee feedback, Loughborough University conducted a separate external evaluation and found that employees felt “overwhelmingly positive” about the arrangement and that it was also a very attractive feature for new recruits.

MTC will now work with various industrial partners, including Rolls-Royce, Siemens, and Meggitt, to share their data and lessons learnt from the trial.

Vicki Sanderson, HR Director at the Manufacturing Technology Centre, 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% 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% 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,” said Sanderson.

Dr Clive Hickman OBE, Chief Executive of the Manufacturing Technology Centre, 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.”

Andrew Peters, Managing Director at Siemens Digital Industries Congleton, said: “Siemens AG quickly committed to a permanent hybrid way of working and while this has provided many of our employees more flexibility, the management of this change has been of critical importance.”

“Central to managing this has been lots of active listening, open communication, and empathetic leadership. We have taken an agile approach in making small changes, seeking lots of feedback from our employees before committing to bigger decisions. Alongside this, we are also dedicating more of our time to adapting and developing our culture.”

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