Productivity Rose By 40% After Microsoft Japan Introduced 4-Day Week

Mandating shorter work hours could be just what countries need to raise productivity while improving work-life

Mandating shorter work hours could be just what countries need to raise productivity while improving work-life

A Microsoft subsidiary in Japan recently conducted an experiment that is something that nearly all of the employees would prefer; a reduction of a day in the workweek.

With the trial hailed as successful by 92 per cent of its employees, the corporate mentioned that they're able to launch a second Work-Life Selection Problem. The company said the experiment was an unmitigated success, with the majority (78%) of employees saying it improved work-life balance.

The experiment also resulted in employees taking about 25% fewer days off during the month.

The Japanese division of Microsoft, gave all of 2280 employees for an entire month, every Friday, and measured the impact of this decision on the productivity of the company.

The new Work-Life Choice Challenge will be offering more flexible timings and short meetings.

A 2017 survey suggested almost a quarter of Japanese companies had employees working more than 80 hours overtime a month, often unpaid. In fact, during a study that was conducted previous year, about 3,000 workers in eight countries by the Workforce Institute at Kronos and Future Workplace were reached out to, and majority said that their ideal workplace would have a workweek of four days or less. Also, since the offices are closed, the lower the electricity costs of 23 per cent, of the number of printed documents, decreased by 58 per cent. It's unclear why the company used two different past years for its comparisons.

That is why it comes as no surprise that this concept of a four-day workweek met with positive feedback from the employees.

Based on the results of their experiment, which took place for a month in August, it looks like the productivity of employees actually increased by as much as 40%. At the same time, meetings were capped at 30 minutes, remote conferences were increased, and self-development and family wellness schemes were incorporated.

Microsoft Japan is planning another similar program for this winter called the Work Life Choice Challenge Winter 2019.

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