Dacus Auto Body In Kansas Sees Improvements In Morale, Production With 4-Day Workweek

Since switching, the shop owners have seen an increase in employee recruitment and retention.

Article reprinted from: Autobody News

Kena and Chris Dacus, owners of Dacus Auto Body & Collision Repair in McPherson, KS, implemented a four-day workweek in June 2022.

After hearing about the alternative work schedule in the media, Kena and Chris presented the idea to their 20 employees during a regular morning meeting.

“They were worried about burnout and working a 10-hour day,” Kena recalled.

They took a vote and the idea was shot down.

About six months later, gas prices went up and the idea became more appealing to many in the shop. Commuting technicians asked if the team would reconsider a four-day workweek. After another vote, employees agreed to test the concept.

When deciding on the best structure for the facility, the Dacuses asked their team for input. At the time, the shop was operating Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a one-hour lunch. Under the new schedule, the work hours were updated to 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a 30-minute lunch. However, the front office staff chose to keep their regular business hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days per week.

Holiday pay remained the same, based on seven designated holidays, and employees still receive two weeks of vacation per year.

“It was a super easy switch and there are benefits for sure,” said Kena.

One of the key benefits Kena shared pertains to retention and recruitment. Since implementing the four-day workweek 18 months ago, she said there has been zero technician turnover. In addition, the new structure has helped with employee recruitment. In the first nine weeks, they were able to hire three qualified technicians.

“Most of us are used to our technicians getting job offers from other shops,” said Kena. “Now we’re getting technicians coming to us. That’s always a blessing in this environment.”

Overall, morale has improved at the 10-year-old business.

“I think they have a better quality of life and work-life balance,” she said. “The new structure provides an extra day to take care of appointments and household chores they would typically have to fit in during the week.”

The body shop owners have noticed production efficiencies at their facility with less distractions and waste. They’ve also been able to fit in more booth cycles. By being open one less time per week, two fewer production meetings are held, which has resulted in about 20-30 minutes less meeting time and more production time.

“It didn’t cost us any income or hurt us over time,” added Kena.

There have also been cost savings at the company. Overtime dollars have decreased about $791.38 per month, which equates to $10,000 per year. Utility savings are approximately $7,500 a year.

“Because we’re paying less overtime, it has allowed us to give back in other ways, like bigger bonuses at Christmas time and more benefits,” noted Kena.

Commuting employees have noticed a savings of about a tank of fuel per month.

“Our employees love it!” said Kena. “They love the extra day to fish, spend time with family or work on their house/chores/life admin so that they may better enjoy the weekend.”

Most customers don’t realize difference in hours since the office is open on Friday. They still have the option to pick up their vehicles if they are complete, washed and pass a quality control inspection on Thursday.

“Those who do hear about the four-day workweek think it’s great that we are able to offer that for our employees,” said Kena.

Her advice to shop considering implementing a four-day workweek is to have a good process in place and get employees’ buy-in ahead of time.

“It’s not a quick fix and how you implement can make a big difference,” said shared. “Stay open and communicate clearly how PTO, holiday pay, etc. will work before you start.”

Stacey Phillips

Stacey Phillips is an accomplished writer and editor with more than 20 years of experience. She has a passion for creating balanced, relevant and inspiring content to educate and inform others.

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