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Microsoft Japan Tested a Four-Day Work Week - And Productivity Soared

Professor of Financial Economics and Part-time Value Investor, Transfin.
Nov 6, 2019 12:58 PM 2 min read

What's better than working five days a week? Working four days a week.


That's according to Microsoft Japan's "Work Life Choice Challenge 2019 Summer" project, an experiment by the tech giant to find ways to increase employee productivity.


The month-long project involved Microsoft Japan giving its 2,300 employees a three-day weekend every week in August by giving them Fridays off. 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 Tested a Four-Day Work Week - And Productivity Soared


The Results?: After Microsoft's experiment, workplace productivity, as measured by sales per employee, improved by almost 40% when compared to August last year. The firm’s costs also fell, with 23.1% less electricity used and 58.7% fewer pages printed over the period. And feedback was overwhelmingly positive – 92.1% of employees said they liked the four-day work week.


Make Thursday Friday Again: Thrilled with the results, Microsoft Japan says it plans to conduct a similar work-life challenge this winter. Meanwhile, across the world, from the UK to New Zealand, interest in the four-day work week and other flexible work arrangements is rising. The goal, of course, is to increase workplace productivity and improve employees' relationship with the workplace.



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