METALtech uk announces four-day working week after pilot proves a success

Fabrication expert METALtech uk Ltd is switching to a four-day working week across key areas of production and installation after running a successful pilot.

The Dundee company’s teams based at clients’ sites across the UK were moved to a Monday-Thursday pattern in March 2019 and it quickly became clear that working four days rather than five improved continuity, productivity, and staff morale.

METALtech uk specialises in the fabrication of a wide range of products in mild and stainless steel, aluminium, and other non-ferrous metals and employs more than 50 people from three purpose-built facilities within the city’s West Pitkerro Industrial Estate. The company achieved a turnover of £5.8 million in 2021, building on the £3.8 million recorded in 2020.

Managing Director Wattie Milne said: ‘All the data clearly identified that sending our site teams all over the UK on a Friday was only achieving around 40% productivity but still carrying 100% of the daily costs.

‘It was simply not productive when compared to the results we achieved from Monday to Thursday. 

‘By switching to a four-day week, we’ve generated very significant savings, making the business leaner and more sustainable.’

The savings have primarily come from reductions in fuel costs, vehicle wear and tear, and the travel time allowances paid to METALtech uk’s site-based employees.

From the staff’s perspective, the pattern of four 9.75-hour days has greatly improved working conditions and created a better work-life balance. This has particularly benefited employees with young families who have not only been able to reduce their childcare costs but are now spending more quality time with their children.

METALtech uk is now putting all workshop-based staff on a four-day week, with the roll-out beginning this month (Jan 2022).

Mr Milne said: ‘Implementing this maintains stability and gives us greater flexibility across the business as a whole.

‘We are also introducing a permanent night shift to help facilitate our growth and our diversification into different market sectors.

‘As a business, METALtech uk saw increased growth throughout 2021, especially within our fabrication and supply-only services which are on target to continue growing organically over the coming years.’

Mr Milne added: ‘Including the four-day-week structure in our business model improves productivity and allows us to continually expand, which in turn creates more jobs but with superior working conditions.

‘This is a win-win situation, not only for the company but — most important of all — for the staff involved.’

He added that he has the full support not only of staff involved in the switch but also of his management team and other METALtech uk employees still working a five-day week pattern themselves. 

‘The four-day week is being adopted by more and more businesses across Scotland and the UK in general and we know — from Scandinavian data in particular — that this model not only greatly improves productivity and profitability, but also significantly enhances the overall wellbeing of staff.

‘Our goal is to extend the four-day week to all staff and management across all METALtech uk’s operations over the next 12-18 months.’