Microsoft recently tested a 4 day work week over a one month period for its 2,300 person workforce in Japan. As technology allows us to be far more productive in the workplace, the struggles of work-life balance of always being accessible has generally lead to more stress and less productivity in reality.
“Work a short time, rest well and learn a lot,” Microsoft Japan president and CEO Takuya Hirano said in a statement to Microsoft Japan’s website. “I want employees to think about and experience how they can achieve the same results with 20% less working time.”
This experiment, similar to others before it, led to some amazing results including significantly improved productivity, less waste, and greater employee satisfaction. 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.
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.