– 80-person employer components launches four-day work week

March 09, 2022

A component company that employs 80 people has launched a four-day work week for all of its staff, in a bid to attract highly skilled tech/engineering talent that would normally be drawn to better-known engineering brands.

Accu – a technology-based component supplier based in Huddersfield – has now entered a staff consultation period on the four-day week, which will then be rolled out in April. It plans to hire 40 more people by the end of the year. Roles will cover engineering, software development, marketing, customer service and operations.

As part of a permanent and irreversible move, Accu project teams will be asked to take Monday or Friday off, ensuring there are three days during the week when all employees are at work collaborative. Customer-facing teams will work on a weekly rotation, providing an improved level of service to customers. Staff salaries will not be affected and weekly contractual hours will be reduced to 34.

With high growth plans, Accu is on the recruiting path to support its ambitions to become the go-to global supplier of engineering components.

Martin Ackroyd, commercial director and co-founder of Accu, said being based in a village, on the outskirts of a city, sometimes posed recruitment challenges – as they competed with tech companies in Leeds and Manchester, and well-known engineering brands such as JLR, for talent.

“Increasing our salary offers was not necessarily the right solution, we have found that this is often not the main motivation when it comes to recruiting great people. So we decided to think creatively,” Ackroyd said. “Studies have shown that people can be just as productive in four days as they were in five, while improving their work-life balance.

“We understand that our business is the sum of our employees. Retaining and recruiting staff are two of the most important factors in achieving our growth objectives. We wanted to do something different, reward our team for all their hard work, but also attract more amazing people to join our talented team.

Ackroyd predicts higher productivity levels, better staff retention and easier recruitment.

“There will be no pay cuts and we will be posting new roles at the same salary we would have advertised prior to the four-day week. Of course, as a technology company, all areas of our business are benchmarked by KPIs, so we’ll be able to measure its effectiveness, but it’s not a trial, and we won’t reverse the decision – because the upheaval would negatively impact people’s lives.”

Accu initially introduced the four-day week for IT staff, and it was so well received that they decided to roll it out company-wide. Co-founders Martin and Antony Kitson also worked a four-day week for two years.

“Antony and I have already experimented with the four-day week, and it has worked well for us. We’re more productive and involved in the business as a result – it’s hard to imagine a life without it now. We will document our journey, so that we will effectively become a case study for all other companies hoping to do the same.