Microsoft Japan’s four-day work week experiment boosted productivity

Microsoft Japan tests a 4-day workweek, sees a massive 40 per cent jump productivity

Microsoft Japan tests a 4-day workweek, sees a massive 40 per cent jump productivity

Microsoft seems to have proven that less is more when it comes to worktime.

An interesting experiment was conducted on employees of Microsoft in Japan, a nation notorious for overwork.

In a press release, Microsoft Japan revealed the "Work Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019, which involved four-day work weeks and three-day weekends". The workers called for a cut in hours, but the productivity is measured in the number of sales has increased by as much as 40 percent of the time. Employees were allowed to choose the way of working they wanted to follow as far as work-life balance.

The technology giant said it was planning to implement a second Work Life Choice Challenge this winter but would not be offering the same "special leave".

Fun fact: Did you know that the Japanese are so overworked that they even coined the term 'karoshi, ' which means 'death by overwork'.

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Offices were closed on every Friday of August 2019 and full-time staff were given "special leave", which was paid.

Microsoft also focused on employee communication and reforming internal meetings and emails methods to get employees to work more efficiently in less time. Last year, in a study of almost 3,000 workers in eight countries by the Workforce Institute at Kronos and Future Workplace, most said their ideal workweek would be four days or less. The number of pages that were printed was reduced by 58.7%, while electricity consumption was reduced by 23.1%. It's unclear why the company used two different past years for its comparisons. The goal, of course, is to increase workplace productivity and improve employees' relationship with the workplace.

Last year, the New Zealand trust management firm Perpetual Guardian launched a trial four-day work week for 240 workers of its workers.

Microsoft said the program was a huge success, and they are ready to launch a Work-Life Choice Challenge.

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