Changing gears: Cleveland manufacturer conducts four-day-a-week testing | Ohio

A small revolution in the world of work is occurring at a company 20 miles northeast. cleveland.

The people who work here are advanced rv They are talking about what they will do on Friday off. Some people are discussing how to spend Monday. I spend time pottering around the house, playing with my kids, running errands, and doing anything other than work.

Advanced RV is a company that customizes approximately 24 luxury RV vehicles per year. Introduced a four-day work week In 2022, we will see if reducing working hours makes staff happier and more productive.

“The turnaround was huge,” company founder and owner Mike Neundorfer said recently.

“I thought we had less than a 50% chance of success, but the results and impact for the people working here have been incredible.”

Neundorfer expected profits to drop by 20% for several years due to the loss of a full day's work. In fact, the company is entering its third year of four-day work weeks and is doing better than before.

“In the first year, we were probably 96% more efficient than we were before,” he says.

“Since then, it’s gone up another 4 to 5 percent.”

The move to improve the work experience for staff comes at a time of dramatic change for the U.S. manufacturing industry, which has been built for more than a century on the idea that productivity is directly correlated to the number of hours spent on the job. There is.

Automotive battery factories in Ohio, Michigan, and Kentucky, and semiconductor factories in upstate New York, Arizona, Texas, and Ohio. The new wave of industrial reshoring America's entry into manufacturing is largely thanks to President Joe Biden's White House chips and anti-inflation legislation.

This change has increased the demand for workers and required companies to improve employee inclusion in a variety of ways.

Last September, United Auto Workers union officials Although he was not successful, he was forced to work four days a week. For members in negotiations with Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis automakers. Meanwhile, companies seeking TIP Act financing of $150 million or more Detailed childcare plan For construction and permanent staff working at the facility.

“There are very widespread pressures on the labor market; [better working schedules] “While that's in the minds of workers, companies are being forced to do whatever they can to retain manufacturing talent,” said Mark Muro, a senior fellow at Brookings Metro, an economic think tank. Told.

“The four-day work week is a demonstration of the flexibility and creativity needed to sustain work in the future. [manufacturing] The plants are humming. ”

According to a UK report published in February 2023, companies attempting a four-day working week (Advanced RV is one of them) report: 46% of them experienced an increase in productivity. 4 Day Week Global, a non-profit organization based in Auckland, New Zealand, says it has worked with more than 200 of her businesses around the world. Create 2,431 years As a result, you will have less free time.

Most companies that offer a four-day work week are technology and online-focused and can operate without having employees physically present on-site.

But while Advanced RV and its staff of about 50 people have been successful in maintaining production levels on compressed schedules, other large manufacturers face many labor and logistics challenges. says the observer.

“Manufacturing activity has increased significantly, and hiring has increased in a fairly tight labor market,” Muro said.

“It's going to be difficult to keep lines running. Businesses are going to have to make their employees feel welcome.”

Some reshoring projects suffer from supply chain and other issues problem This was a feature we saw at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.Consumers Embarrassed by soaring vehicle pricesAs a result, thousands of new car Sleeping in the warehouse and making the next plan A new manufacturing plant is brought back.

Neundorfer admits that the company's turnaround may have been easier because he is the sole shareholder and runs Advanced RV himself. This means the decision-making process is simpler. However, he believes a four-day work week is not impossible for the manufacturing industry as a whole.

“How long did it take you to work 40 hours a week?” he said. “It's been decades.

“Many companies are deeply steeped in a culture of time and have time clocks. People don't have the flexibility to take time off or go to the doctor. The biggest change is a focus on productivity and quality. I think I'll put it there.”

When the concept of a four-day work week was presented in 2022, approximately half of Advanced RV's staff feared that participating would only increase their stress burden.

One of them was metal fabricator Dave McArthur.

“I was really skeptical,” he said.

He now spends his Mondays working in his garage and working on his truck. “Sometimes I don’t do anything on Monday,” he says. “Just unzip it.

“It was very good. I didn’t think it would last. [but] Things started to click together,” he said of the new work culture.

“But it doesn’t just happen, you have to put in the effort.

“We've made a lot of changes here. We're better organized. We talk to everyone more. There's a lot of cross-station work and planning is important. That’s it.”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2024/apr/05/cleveland-company-four-day-work-week Changing gears: Cleveland manufacturer conducts four-day-a-week testing | Ohio

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