Three-day weekends at Microsoft brings 40% increase in productivity. With less time to do their work people spent less time in meetings, making them much more productive.
Microsoft’s Japanese arm has tried to improve its workers work-life balance by making weekends a day longer – and it’s proved beneficial to the company.
Despite workers spending 20 per cent less time in the office, they actually became 39.9 per cent more productive.
Microsoft Japan gave 2,300 workers every Friday off during the Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019. The day off did not come out of their holiday allowance and their salaries remained the same throughout the month that it was trialed.
Not only did productivity go up, but absence also went down by more than a quarter (25.4 per cent) and use of electricity went down by nearly the same amount (23.1 per cent). Japan has one of the lowest job satisfaction scores in the world, leaving employers scratching their heads to try and improve that.
Absences went down by more than a quarter during the trial over the summer in Japan. One of the reasons cited for the increase in productivity is that people realised they had less time to do their work so ended up spending less time in meetings.
They were either cut altogether, shortened or took place online rather than face-to-face. Perhaps unsurprisingly, some 92.1 per cent of workers said they enjoyed the four-day week and Microsoft said it was planning on repeating the exercise next summer.
They have also said they may roll it out at other times of the year. The idea of a three-day weekend is nothing new and in September Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell promised to cut the average working week to four days with no loss of pay. He said: ‘We should work to live, not live to work. People in our country work some of the longest hours in Europe.’
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