At Microsoft In Japan, Employees Work Four Days A Week And Productivity Is At An All-Time High

The American IT giant conducted a very successful experiment in Japan, offering its employees 3-day weekends last August.

At Microsoft In Japan, Employees Work Four Days
© Getty Images
At Microsoft In Japan, Employees Work Four Days

Making your employees work less in order to earn (much) more? This is the challenge that the American giant Microsoft took on last August, in a country that is better known for its culture of presenteeism and the extreme accumulation of overtime than for taking into account the quality of life of its employees: Japan.

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For a month, Microsoft's Japanese subsidiary closed its doors on Fridays and gave its employees an extra day off. In total, 2,300 employees were affected, as the firm explained in a recently issued press release. It should be noted that this decision had no impact on their leave or salaries.

4-day weeks and productivity that beat records

A reduction in weekly working time was combined with some other strong decisions, such as limiting work meetings to 30 minutes and with a maximum of five participants, as well as encouraging online exchanges rather than physical or e-mail meetings.

And the results were striking. As the French channel BFMTV explained, productivity per employee exploded by 40% in August over the course of a year. At the same time, electricity consumption fell by 23% and paper consumption by nearly 59%. 'Employees want to work in a variety of ways,' the company said.

The experiment was, therefore, a great success, which Microsoft's managers already intend to relaunch this winter. But this time, employees will have to use their days off to secure their 4-day week.

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