The following is a reflection on ARV's 4 Day Work Week experiment from Mike Neundorfer.
Work 32 hours over 4 days, yet get paid for 40 hours over 5 days and get the same or more work done! This sounds impossible but we are trying it at Advanced-RV (ARV). In addition, we are also committed to providing the same or better client attention and improved quality in 32 hour weeks as we did during 40 hour weeks.
About a year ago, I started reading and thinking about the possibility of organizing our work so that our staff could benefit from three day weekends every weekend. I was skeptical that a manufacturing company like ours could be successful. The more I read and learned about how we all work, I became optimistic. I quickly realized that if we can do this, the benefits to our staff will be huge!
We found an international organization that was planning a six month trial of the 4 day week. Thirty one other companies signed up. The trial started the first of April this year. The University of Dublin and Boston University are doing staff surveys to monitor results.
In the months leading up to the start of the program, we paid more attention to our business metrics. We refined our measures of productivity and production velocity so we would be able to monitor our progress as objectively as possible.
We improved the accuracy of our time reporting. We improved our productivity measures and further formalized our quality improvement processes. We created a quality scoring system. Our staff has organized their schedules to maintain client attention and service. We do not have a formal way to score client attention but do frequent face to face surveys with clients.
We are currently in the fourth month of the trial. We have not met our productivity targets yet but trends are in the right direction. Much of our improvement requires new tools for better documentation of our custom designs and subsequent communication to our craft blocks.
We are working to improve every aspect of our productivity, quality and client attention. This is exactly what most good companies do. The difference with ARV is that we will use our progress to improve quality of life for our staff by giving them an extra paid day off per week. This may seem upside down, but we feel it is the right thing to do.