The Japanese division of Microsoft discovered that reducing her working week to four days during the month of August one productivity increase and cost reduction. Sales per employee increased by 40 percent compared to the same period last year due to the "Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019" of the company, reports Bloomberg.
Microsoft is not the only organization that explores the idea of a shorter working week. In New Zealand, one trust management company tested a four-day working week more than two months last year and found the staff focus improved and the stress decreased. In the United Kingdom, a London-based scientific research team investigated plans to release employees without a wage fine, but the idea deleted because of its complexity. A four-day working week was also the focus of a recent one study commissioned by the British Labor Party.
The Microsoft test is particularly interesting in the context of the notoriously long working hours of Japan, says Bloomberg, noting that the country is struggling with a labor shortage and an aging population. Microsoft currently has 2,300 employees in the country according to The Guardian, who all received five Fridays in August without any wage reduction.
The trial, which also included limiting meetings to just 30 minutes, led to cost savings for Microsoft. Electricity consumption decreased by 23 percent and printing on paper decreased by 59 percent. Employees were encouraged to use tools such as Microsoft Teams to communicate rather than hold meetings, and 92 percent of employees said they were satisfied with the shorter hours.
Despite the apparently great success with the pilot program, The Guardian says it is unclear whether the initiative will be repeated in the long term. Bloomberg reports that later this year, Microsoft Japan will again take up a challenge for work and private life to encourage employees to take on "in a more flexible and smarter way". development of many of its products, including Windows, Office and Azure.