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Microsoft Japan tests four-day work week

Productivity went up by 40%

SAMAA | - Posted: Nov 5, 2019 | Last Updated: 2 years ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Nov 5, 2019 | Last Updated: 2 years ago

Microsoft Japan study finds four-day working weeks and other reforms both boost sales and cut costs. Photo: AFP

Microsoft Japan experimented with a four-day work week for a month and found promising results.

Sales went up and costs went down.

The Japanese unit of the US IT giant closed its offices every Friday in August, giving all 2,300 full-time workers special leave.

It also restricted meetings to a maximum of 30 minutes, and encouraged online chats as an alternative to face-to-face communications.

The shortened weeks led to more efficient meetings, happier workers, and boosted productivity by a staggering 40%, the company concluded at the end of the trial, The Guardian reported.

In addition to the increased productivity, employees took 25% less time off during the trial and electricity use was down 23% in the office with the additional day off per week. Employees printed 59% fewer pages of paper during the trial. The vast majority of employees – 92% – said they liked the shorter week, according to the news report.

The firm said the trial showed “employees want to have a variety of ways of working” and that adopting the model more broadly could boost efficiency, AFP reported.

It plans to launch a similar programme this winter — but won’t offer special leave. Instead, employees will be encouraged to use their existing holiday days, it said.

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