Who would have guessed that giving employees more time off would boost overall productivity? Well, apparently Microsoft Japan had a hunch that it might.
Japan has a notoriously grueling work-life balance, and has consistently been a country with low employee satisfaction scores. This makes it one of the perfect locations for an experiment like this.
In August, Microsoft Japan went forward with a “Working Reform Project” where employees were given a three-day weekend every week. Over 2300 were given Friday off in the month of August, and the time off was not considered vacation time.
As a result, employees took 25% less days off, printed 58% less pages, and used 23% less electricity in the office. This ended up saving the company a substantial amount of money.
Most importantly, the productivity went up nearly 40%, which means although employees were at work less time overall, they actually got more done.
The increase in productivity was attributed to less meetings, shortened meetings, and more time spent working on important tasks. While it goes without saying, 92% of the employees said they enjoyed the four day work week.
Microsoft plans to reintroduce this program next summer due to its success. This program may not work for every company, but Microsoft is being proactive in solving Japan’s overworked culture one step at a time.