The four-day workweek has been banging on America’s door for a while now.
It’s been trialed in places like New Zealand, where Perpetual Guardian, who shortened their workweek schedule to four days, found it so successful that the company later decided to implant the policy full-time. Alibaba Group chairman and billionaire Jack Ma even called for something even more radical — 12-hour workweeks — as technological enhancements could perform human jobs which would allow workers to enjoy more time “being human beings.”
Even two economists argued that workers and employers should embrace the four-day working week because it would allow workers to focus their attention more effectively.
Add another titan banging on the four-day workweek drum — Microsoft.
Microsoft Japan recently tested a four-day workweek for an entire month to its 2,300 employees and said it saw nearly a 40% jump in productivity, according to the company.
In part of Microsoft’s “Work Life Choice Challenge,” the tech giant decided to call-off Fridays throughout August to give its employees a reduced workweek. The company said it saw a 39.9% rise in productivity compared to August 2018.
The drivers behind the production boost were reduced meetings, according to Microsoft, which capped meetings at 30 minutes and also allowed more remote conferences. Microsoft also said it the shortened schedule also had a positive change in its costs and the environment, with 23% less electricity used and 58% fewer pages printed across the month.
Unsurprisingly, nearly all employees (92.1%) said they were in favor of the four-day workweek.
Microsoft Japan said it plans to run another work schedule test in the winter.