Last August, Microsoft Japan carried out a “Working Reform Project” called the Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019. For one month last August, the company implemented a three-day weekend every week, giving 2,300 employees every Friday off during the month. This “special paid vacation” did not come at the expense of any other vacation time. The results were pretty incredible!
First off, the reductions. Employees took 25.4 percent fewer days off during the month, printed 58.7 percent fewer pages, and used 23.1 percent less electricity in the office (since it was closed an extra day). All of these saved the company quite a bit of money.
Next, the increases. Productivity went up by a staggering 39.9 percent. That means even though the employees were at work for less time, more work was actually getting done!
A lot of the increase in productivity is attributed to the changing of meetings. With only four days to get everything done for the week, many meetings were cut, shortened, or changed to virtual meetings instead of in-person.
And even though it should seem obvious, it’s also important to note that 92.1 percent of employees said that they liked the four day workweek at the end of the trial. Due to its success this year, Microsoft is planning on repeating it again next summer or perhaps at other times as well.