Microsoft Japan finds 4-day workweek increases productivity

An interesting experiment was conducted on employees of Microsoft in Japan, a nation notorious for overwork.

Read on to know more about the experiment and its astounding results.

Held in August this year, Microsoft Japan launched a program called ‘Work Life Choice Challenge’ to improve overall work-life balance. As part of this initiative, it gave employees a day off on Friday too, giving them 3-day weekends and 4-day work weeks for an entire month.

And what were the results of this experiment?

Employee productivity increased by a whopping 40 per cent! According to the company, this was also due to more remote conferences and meetings, and caps on meetings for a duration of 30 minutes.

But the advantages do not end there. The organization also witnessed a fall in its operating costs – its electricity usage declined by 23 per cent and there were over 58 per cent fewer pages printed!

And what did employees have to say about this change?

An overwhelming 92 per cent of the employees said that they were pleased with the four-day workweek.

This study corroborates the commonly agreed-upon notion that longer work hours do not necessarily mean more productivity. It also reinforces that shorter work hours could contribute to overall work-life balance.

Microsoft Japan will hold a second similar experiment over winter and will encourage more flexible working hours.

The detrimental impact of overwork is felt severely in Japan, a nation known for having some of the world’s longest work hours. The government of Japan has been working to bring down these acute workhours as the country confronts a rapidly ageing population and a diminishing workforce.

Fun fact: Did you know that the Japanese are so overworked that they even coined the term ‘karoshi,’ which means ‘death by overwork.’

What do you think? Should more organizations cut upon the work hours? Do let us know your thought in the comments section below.

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