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Microsoft Japan's four-day week trial boosts productivity by 40%

Company also noted paper and electricity consumption dropped significantly

Microsoft held a trial for a new four-day working week system in its Japanese office and the results are promising.

Throughout August 2019, the company closed the office every Friday -- five days of the month -- and gave full-time employees special paid leave to account for this.

It also experimented with other aspects of daily office life, such as limiting meeting length to 30 minutes and encouraging employees to make more use of its own Microsoft Teams tool to communicate.

The trial was dubbed the Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019, and the results show that staff were 39.9% productive when compared to August 2018.

Microsoft also noted that electricity consumption was reduced by 23.1% when compared to August 2016, while the number of pages printed was reduced by 58.7%, indicating the environmental benefits of shorter working weeks.

Employee questionnaires showed that 92.1% of staff members approved of a four-day week, and 94% approved of the overall measures introduced.

Microsoft Japan will soon continue the experiment with the Work-Life Choice Challenge Winter 2019. However, rather than offering special paid leave, it will encourage employees to combine paid vacations and the year-end holidays to vary their work style.

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James Batchelor avatar

James Batchelor


James Batchelor is Editor-in-Chief at GamesIndustry.biz. He is based in Essex and has been a B2B games journalist since 2006