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.

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.

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.

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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.

James Guttridge
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