Advanced RV recently took part in an experiment to see what would happen if it shortened its workweek by one day — and the results might surprise you.
The Ohio-based company, which transforms Mercedes-Benz cargo vans into luxury motorhomes, was one of 200 businesses to participate in the experiment led by an organization called 4 Day Week Global. Basically, they wanted to see if they could cut the workweek short, without sacrificing productivity or pay.
The company’s CEO Mike Neundorfer says he had concerns about the experiment, but decided it was worth a shot.
“Think about it. What more impact could a person have on a number of people that work for them than giving them 50 holiday days a year, a three-day weekend every weekend?” he told NPR. “It just seemed like the most significant thing I could do as a business owner and manager.”
Despite pushback — even from employees who worried they could lose their jobs if the experiment failed — Advanced RV proceeded with the experiment.
And to everyone’s surprise, it was a huge success.
Neundorfer said the team did encounter issues at the start, but with some new machinery and creative planning they were able to overcome them.
For instance, he asked every department if there were tools or equipment they could use to speed up their tasks. His upholsterers said a heavy duty industrial sewing machine would allow them to bind carpets in a quarter of the time.
“This was a no brainer,” Neundorfer said. “We looked at the cost and we didn’t have to even sit down with a spreadsheet. We knew this was something we should do.”
Departments also started forging new tools, creating templates, divvying up tasks and adapting their workflows for more efficiency. “If you save six or seven minutes on six or seven things, then you’re really starting to push the envelope a little bit and get a little bit more done,” said Bill Kowalcic, who works in Advanced RV’s finishing department.
Ultimately, Neundorfer says he saw more energy and efficiency in the workplace, and less fatigue and burnout among his team. Today, they’re just as productive as they were when they worked five days a week.
And it’s not just Advanced RV, of the 41 American and Canadian companies that participated in the experiment, none has returned to a 40-hour work week, NPR reports.
Neundorfer even believes his company might soon become more productive than it was before launching the experiment.
It makes you think, doesn’t it? With some new tools and creative planning, maybe we too could cut back our workweek and start enjoying more of life.
To read the full article, see: A manufacturer tried the 4-day workweek for 5 days’ pay and won’t go back