Microsoft’s 4-day work week test increased productivity by 40%

Microsoft Japan conducted an experiment of four day work week and because of that the productivity of their workers boosted by 40 percent. The experiment took place in August and 2,300 employees got 3-days weekends with full salary.

Microsoft observed that the employees were not only happy but they were also more productive than usual. Employees took less time off and they were even more efficient in meetings. The test did not only resulted in an increase in productivity but also a significant reduction in the expenditures of Microsoft Japan. Employees used fewer resources and the electricity cost was down by 23 percent and printing cost also dropped 59 percent.

The test called Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019 by Microsoft Japan and the CEO of Microsoft Japan, Takuya Hirano said: “I want employees to think about and experience how they can achieve the same results with 20 percent less working time.” Most of the employees were happy and they preferred the four day work week.

Managers at Microsoft Japan urged the whole staff to also spend less time in meetings and responding to emails. They recommended that meetings should not be longer than 30 minutes and to stay connected all the time to avoid extra meetings they also suggested that they should use Microsoft’s messaging app.

The idea of the 4-day workweek is not new, before Microsoft, many companies tested this in their workplace. In 2018 a trust management company in New Zealand, Perpetual Guardian conducted this experiment for over two months. The employee’s response was good and their stress level decreased by 7%.

Harvard Business Review also conducted such an experiment, the decrease in the 8-hour workday to 6-hour, boosted productivity. A 2018 survey conducted from 3,000 employees by Workforce Institute at Kronos found out that “more half of full-time workers thought they could do their job in five hours a day.”

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