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Manufacturer Sticks with 4-Day Workweek

And the company has no plans of ever going back to its old ways.

Based in Willoughby, Ohio, Advanced RV isn't your typical small manufacturer. The company makes luxury custom motorhomes out of Mercedes cargo vans.

Last year, the company was one of some 200 companies that took part in a trial to see if a global four-day workweek was possible. Not only was it possible, but according to a recent NPR interview, the company has no intention of ever going back to the old way of doing business. 

Advanced RV was one of a few manufacturers who participated in the project, agreeing to cut back to 32 hours per week while keeping the same pay. The hope was that companies could be just as effective, and productive, in four days if they were better rested and more efficient. It would also help stave off fatigue and burnout. 

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Founded in 2012 by CEO Mike Neundorfer, the shop has some 50 employees who put extensive work into these RVs β€” most take about two years to complete a project. 

Neundorfer admits that he could likely make more money working overtime. But at what cost? The CEO told NPR he made the switch because, "It just seemed like the most significant thing I could do as a business owner and manager."

The idea had some skeptics at Advanced RV, but in the end it forced employees to really think about how they could maintain the same quality of work and cut out some of the fat, like creating more templates. 

Employees also became more mindful about their work, individually and as a team. Playing to each other's strengths, some gave up responsibilities to co-workers who are simply better at doing the job. 

It's about saving minutes and Neundorfer says the company is more than 90 percent of the way there. He believes that, one day, they could even be more productive in 32 hours than they once were in 40.

Now, more than 18 months into the experiment, Advanced RV has no plans of ever going back to its old ways β€” some employees say they never would go back. And they're not alone, more than 40 companies that experimented with a four-day workweek say they too are never going back.

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