Manufacturing company Advanced RV finds success with a four-day work week

Posted at 7:14 AM, Nov 27, 2023

Imagine being told your typical five-day work week will transition to a four-day work week. Your pay won't decrease, but you have to get the same amount of work done.

It was a change that seemed a bit daunting to many employees at Advanced RV in Cleveland, Ohio.

"How are we going to take 40 hours and reduce it down to 32 hours and still keep the same workload?" Advanced RV engineer Myron Hare said.

Advanced RV is a manufacturing company that builds custom high-end sprinter motor homes.

CEO Mike Neundorfer says he agreed to participate in a six-month trial of a four-day work week because he wanted to improve his workers' quality of life.
"It is amazing Saturday night to have that flash that, 'oh my gosh, it's not Sunday night, it's only Saturday and I have another day,'" Neundorfer said.

Advanced RV was one of more than 200 companies that tried out a four-day work week, but only a handful were manufacturing companies. The nonprofit 4 Day Week Global ran the trial.

Director Alex Soojung-Kim Pang says it's not just work-from-home and tech jobs that can transition to four days. They've also found success with nursing homes, restaurants, and factories.

"It's something that requires a lot of communication, or if it is highly collaborative, it requires thinking about company culture and what social norms," Soojung-Kim Pang said.

Soojung-Kim Pang says companies have to think through worst-case scenarios and how a shorter week affects things like PTO and busy seasons. He says companies may need to redesign the workday with fewer meetings and periods of deep focus time.

Neundorfer says he knew he was taking a risk with a potential 20 percent loss in profit. However, Advanced RV continued the four-day work week after the trial, and productivity is almost back to 100 percent.

"So it's a success, but we have to remind ourselves every once in a while that we need to kind of buckle down and look at some process to improve it," Neundorfer said.

From passion projects and time with family to simply running errands, employees say they're pleased with their new work-life balance.

"I've picked my drawing back up," Advanced RV Carpenter Travis Yocum said. "It's been years since I've picked up the pencil."

"We have two grandsons," Hare said. "One is gonna be five, the other is going to be two, so I've been able to spend a lot more time with them, a lot more time with my wife."