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Microsoft Japan Adopted a 4-Day Work Week & Boosted Productivity By Almost 50%

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Typing on laptop

Where my public holiday and long-weekend lovers at? Developments coming out of Japan at Microsoft might pique your interest.

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Microsoft Japan was trialling a 4-day work week and the experiment was extremely popular with employees and also increased productivity by 40% due to the fact that the shorter workweek came with less and more efficient meetings which left employees with more time to actually do their job.

The “Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019” (the name of the trial program) lasted throughout the entirety of August and saw around 2300 employees get 5 Fridays off without reduction in salary and 0 days taken out of their annual leave.

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Work a short time, rest well and learn a lot. It’s necessary to have an environment that allows you to feel your purpose in life and make a greater impact at work.

I want employees to think about and experience how they can achieve the same results with 20 percent less working time.

Microsoft Japan President & CEO – Takuya Hirano

As part of the program, many meetings were shortened, cut or hosted remotely in an effort to redirect time spent in meetings to more productive tasks.

The following benefits were witnessed outside of improved productivity:

  • employees took 25% less time off during the trial period.
  • because of the extra day out of the office 23% less electricity
  • Employees printed 59% fewer pages

Of the employees that were part of the program, 92% said they appreciated the extra day off. No downsides were reported because clearly there are no downsides to such an arrangement. Jokes aside though, let me go show this to my boss…


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