UPAC moves to four-day working week

Richard Stuart-Turner
Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Independent packaging supplier UPAC Group has formalised a four-day working week for its staff.

UPAC Group is a collective of family-run packaging businesses
UPAC Group is a collective of family-run packaging businesses

Following extensive research and trials, the Glasgow-headquartered company’s management has now formalised the arrangement, following trials over the past two months.

The arrangement will cover everyone in the group and employees will work different days to ensure the company, which will continue to operate five days a week, is always covered and so customers see no difference or change in service levels.

Staff will remain on full salary under the arrangement, and with full holiday entitlement and other benefits.

The company said the aim of introducing the four-day working week was to create the best possible working environment, inclusive of a work/life balance.

Marketing manager Melissa Cairney said the trials had shown no evidence of any drop in productivity, but “a marked decrease” in stress levels.

“Whilst UPAC are far from the first company in the world to make this leap of faith, we are certainly proud to be in amongst the frontrunners, and as we start the long road out of the pandemic, the management’s interest in its staff’s welfare is truly inspiring.”

She said the move had been achieved by the company increasing its staff headcount and cost base. The £12m-turnover business now employs 62 staff.

“Although there will evidently be a cost to the company, management perceive this as less important than the welfare of its staff and understand that this money will be recouped over time through improved productivity, less sick days, and greater staff motivation,” said Cairney.

“More importantly, it ensures continuity for our customers as it builds on the already staggeringly low staff turnover.”

In the past few years, UPAC has split its targets to reflect both the bottom line and staff welfare. A new gym was built within its head office facility, as well as improved canteen facilities.

“This has been reflected in a staff turnover of only 1% annually. This means customers are ensured of talking to knowledgeable staff who know their accounts and who understand their needs,” said Cairney.

Earlier this year UPAC combined its Scotia Surplus Boxes and WM Watson Packaging businesses to become the new Eco Box division of the group.

The collective of family-run packaging businesses’ other companies include UPAC Cartons, Peter Bryson Packaging, Merlin Healthcare Packaging, U-Label-It, and We-Pac.

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