Have you ever had one of those weeks that seems to drag on forever? Work and school definitely takes a toll on the body, leaving many of us wondering why the workweek is 5 days long. Why couldn’t it be 4 days instead of five? Honestly, by Friday, everyone is low on energy and only thinking about the weekend. Well, you’re not alone as tech giant Microsoft shares your pain and wants to do something about it.
This past August, Microsoft Japan organized an experiment where their Japan offices held 4-day work weeks. No, their work hours Monday through Thursday did not increase and lunch breaks were not cut to make up for the lost time. Employee wages were also not changed. In fact, Microsoft found that employees were happier and more productive! The project titled, ‘Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019’, included 2,300 Microsft employees.
“I want employees to think about and experience how they can achieve the same results with 20% less working time.”
At the conclusion of the five-week experiment, Microsoft produced some shocking results. The shorter workweek resulted in more efficient meetings and a 40% increase in productivity. In addition, with offices empty Friday through Sunday, the company found its electricity usage down by 23%. Furthermore, employees printed 59% fewer pages, saving Microsft money all while helping the environment
A vast 92% of employees claimed to like the shortened week. Microsoft is not the first to experiment with shorter workweeks. The Harvard Business Review and the Perpetual Guardian corporation also completed similar experiments recently. As expected, both concluded that shorter workweeks reduce stress in employees while boosting productivity.
While the Microsoft trial in Japan was only temporary, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a permanent change in the near future. Read more about Microsoft’s recent experiment here.