Watford Control staff overjoyed at four day week plans

Watford Control Instruments Limited, based in Corby, is to move to a four day manufacturing week with extended day shifts as from 24th February 2019.

Watford Control’s voltage stabilisers and power conditioners have been continuously made in the UK since 1947 and having moved to Corby in the late 1980s, this has been their home for over 30 years.

When the move to Corby took place, the company set the working hours to match that of the local bus timetable so that staff could get to and from work with ease. Originally, the hours were Monday to Thursday 8.10 to 4.55 and on Friday, 8.10 to 3.10 with a lunch break of 45 minutes per day.

This resulted in a working week of 38.25 hours.

Mark Massetti, Managing Director of Watford Control, takes up the story…

“When we acquired the business in May 2016, I could never quite get my head around the working hours but the bus timetable made sense; although I think that buses stopped coming to the industrial estate many years ago!

“Having TUPE’d over the staff, we moved the factory in August 2016 and at the same time changed the hours from 8.00 to 4.45 and 8.00 to 3.00 on a Friday. The working day remained constant, just a bit more sensible start and finish times.

“Fast forward to 2019… and I’d been reading a lot about tech and app development companies moving to a four day week. Despite being a traditional UK manufacturer, I thought, why couldn’t we?

“With a quick calculation, I thought if we extended the shifts a bit and shortened the lunch break, we could have a reasonable working day and Friday off in the factory.

“I consulted with the senior team and they thought it was a great idea, we presented it to the staff to choose the start time and length of lunch break – and they were overjoyed – job done, we start on 24th February 2019!”

Now some will say, hang on that’s hardly benevolent of you, they are doing the same hours?

“True, but they also now get effectively an extra week’s holiday as they only need to take four days off for a week’s holiday as opposed to five previously, they worked that out one out quickly!

“Clearly, we still need to deal with customers, suppliers and general enquiries, so office and administrative staff will retain the same hours as previously but work from home on a Friday.

“All in all, it’s been extremely well received and I’m delighted that our colleagues are delighted and hopefully – happy staff will translate into motivated staff!

“Not only are we hoping that this will improve the quality of the work/life balance but we have also calculated that our staff will travel 13,364 less miles annually in commuting, saving around 4.7 TCO2 emissions from their cars and reduce their travel expenses by over £5,000.

“Equally, colleagues with young families or those who act as carers will have more flexibility in how they plan their free time.

“What’s not to like?”