Microsoft's Japanese office gave employees Fridays off in August and its productivity jumped up by almost 40%.
For most of us, the working week is made up of five days and then two days off. Chances are we're in the office from Monday to Friday and then recovering on Saturday and Sunday in preparation to do it all again. They don't call it the rat race for nothing and after a while, it can become quite monotonous.
The dream for most people is for the working week to become a day shorter, making the weekend a day longer. Is there any better feeling leaving work on a Thursday knowing you don't have to be in again until Monday? For most, that's a pipedream. However, for workers at Microsoft's offices in Japan, that dream became a reality this past August.
The office trialed a four day week for the entire month, giving its employees paid vacation on all five of August's Fridays. Business owners reading this, you might want to take note. According to Business Insider, the office's productivity increased by 39.9% when compared to the prior August. The company also promoted remote communication and placed a 30-minute limit on all physical meetings.
As well as productivity seeing a significant increase year-on-year, the Microsoft subsidiary saved money in a number of other areas. Employees printed 58.7% fewer pages, saving a significant amount of paper, and since the offices were closed for five extra days the building used 23.1% less electricity for the month than it did during August 2018. Honestly, we're struggling to see any sort of downside to four day work weeks at all at this point.
Unsurprisingly, a study of 3000 workers across eight different countries revealed that the average person's ideal workweek would be four days or less. Asking to work fewer than four days a week in most lines of work might be pushing it just a little. A four-day workweek might be on the horizon, though, especially if other companies get wind of Microsoft's work. If working less means higher productivity and cheaper bills, it's a win-win situation for both the boss and the employee.