Asia Business Channel

Microsoft Japan tries a 4-day workweek, and productivity increases 40%


If you want to increase your company and employee productivity, then have them work less. That’s the conclusion of a practical experiment that Microsoft Japan tested in August. The test was simple, it involved reducing the workweek by one day, which led to a 40% boost in productivity.

The human resources and productivity experiment was part of Microsoft's Japan’s "Work-Life Choice Challenge," a summer project that examined the work-life balance of employees which had a goal to boost creativity and productivity by giving employees more flexible working hours.

Microsoft Japan closed its offices every Friday in August, so that employees worked a four-day, Monday ~ Thursday work week, and then had a three-day “weekend.” Not only were employees happy with the four-day workweek, but also the company found that labor productivity increased by 39.9% compared with August 2018.

Microsoft also found out that there were additional benefits to the company beyond labor productivity. Electricity consumption declined by 23.1% compared with August 2018 ad the number of pages that were printed by employees decreased by 58.7% compared to the same period in 2018.

Workers around the world are asking for shorter work-weeks as a trade-off for working longer hours on workdays and weekends due to an always “on” 24/7 technology system that has blurred the traditional boundaries of work time and personal time. In 2018 a study by the Workforce Institute at Kronos and Future Workplace, of 3,000 workers in eight countries found employees saying that their ideal workweek would be four days or less.




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