Microsoft Japan’s four-day workweek system boosted productivity by 40%

In a fresh corporate experiment to try out a four-day workweek, Microsoft Corporation’s Japan branch discovered their productivity received a 40 percent boost.

The test involved 2300 regular company workers in August this year.

After the company was urged to improve efficiency in the workplace, it conducted the experiment to test if it would raise employee’s performance.

Microsoft Japan Co., which made the results of its experiment public last week, decided to make every Friday in August a special paid day off for its regular employees in the country.

In order to boost productivity, the management team urged workers to communicate more often through an online chat tool rather than having meetings or sending emails.

Even when they gathered for regular meetings, employees were asked to end them within 30 minutes and limit the number of participants to five at maximum.

This resulted in a 39.9 increase in sales per worker, and 58.7 percent and 23.1 percent drops in the quantity of paper used for document printing or used in copying machines and in electricity use respectively, compared to August 2018.

Around 92 percent of workers reacted positively to the four-day workweek, according to the report.

It did not show the total amount of overtime work hours during that period, but the spokesman stated it did not rise.

He said Microsoft Japan does not have plans to make four-day workweeks a permanent thing but it may use them every once in a while.

In an effort to erase Japan’s notorious corporate culture of extensive working hours, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration has been considering reforms to work-style.

According to the Japan Productivity Center, a research body based in Tokyo, the hourly labor productivity in Japan, based on data collected by OECD, was calculated at ¥4,733 ($47.5) in 2017, which means that it placed 20th among the 36 OECD countries.

And while four-day workweeks aren’t likely to become common in Japan in the near future, a fresh poll showed a vast majority of Japanese workers support the idea of a four-day week system.

In an online poll made in July by internet service provider Biglobe Inc., 80 percent of 1000 people surveyed answered positively about the four-day work system.

When asked about what day they would like to have off if the four-day workweek was introduced, 51 percent said they would prefer Wednesday.

Do you believe a four-day workweek should become the norm worldwide?

Let us know what you think by joining the conversation in the comments, and please share this article if you enjoyed it.

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