A Microsoft subsidiary in Japan recently conducted an experiment that is something that almost all of the employees would prefer; a reduction of a day in the workweek. Yes, an experiment that involved reducing the workweek to four days was conducted. The experiment led to a 40% increase in the productivity of the employees as per Microsoft.
The experiment was part of Microsoft’s ‘Work-Life Choice Challenge.’ It is a summer project that is aimed at examining work-life balance and thus helping to boost creativity and productivity by allowing employees to have more flexible working hours.
Every Friday, Microsoft Japan would close its offices in August and learned that labor productivity increased by 39.9% percent as opposed to August 2018. Full-time employees were given paid leaves during these closures. The company said that it also implemented a 30-minute limit on meetings and was able to save time that is spent in meetings while encouraging remote communication.
Microsoft is not the first company to highlight the fact that a four-day workweek results in enhanced productivity. Andrew Barnes, who is the founder of Perpetual Garden – an estate-planning firm in New Zealand – told that he carried out a similar experiment and learned that a four-day week not only benefited the employees but the company as well. The company has since then opted for the four-day workweek permanently.
Furthermore, studies have proven that there does exist a demand for a shorter workweek. In fact, during a study that was conducted last year, about 3,000 workers in eight countries by the Workforce Institute at Kronos and Future Workplace were reached out to, and most of them said that their ideal workplace would have a workweek of four days or less. It was not just the employees that were able to benefit from the four-day workweek at Microsoft. Microsoft also told that it was able to save electricity and office resources as well. The number of pages that were printed was reduced by 58.7%, while electricity consumption was reduced by 23.1%.