Microsoft Japan Recently Gave Their Employees a 4-Day Work Week—and Productivity Skyrocketed by 40%


The five-day work week may soon be a thing of the past thanks to Microsoft Japan’s latest contribution to the mounting body of research on how the four-day work week is better for companies and their employees.

The company recently concluded a month-long experiment in which their employees were only required to work four days per week instead of five. Throughout the month of August, all 2,300 of their employees were given Fridays off without a decrease in pay.

Upon publishing the results of their Summer 2019 Work-Life Choice Challenge, the company was surprised to find that their employees were happier; their meetings were more efficient; and their productivity had skyrocketed by a stunning 40% compared to the same time period from last year.

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Furthermore, the company saved money by reducing their operational costs; the building consumed 23% less electricity and the workforce reduced their paper consumption by almost 60%.

Since 92% of the employees said they preferred the shorter work week, Microsoft Japan will be launching another 4-day work week trial in the winter, although the workforce is still encouraged to take more time off with increasingly flexible scheduling.

“Work a short time, rest well, and learn a lot,” Microsoft Japan president and CEO Takuya Hirano said in a statement to Microsoft Japan’s website. “I want employees to think about and experience how they can achieve the same results with 20% less working time.”

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This is not the first time that a company has enjoyed the benefits of a 4-day work week. Back in March 2018, Auckland-based firm Perpetual Guardian launched a “world-first” trial in which they started giving their 240 employees an extra day off for free.

Based on metrics that were utilized by outside researchers, the trial had a multitude of benefits. In addition to feeling less stressed and more satisfied with their lives, workers were also less compelled to check social media and they were less distracted by out-of-work projects.

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