Productivity Increases 40% When Microsoft Japan Enforces a 4-Day Workweek

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You might want to head on over to Japan, and grab a job at Microsoft.

In August, the company decided to try a genius experiment to see if they could increase productivity in the workforce. They shut the doors every Friday of the month, and let the employees have the day off.

Not only that, they PAID the employees for these Fridays they took off without taking it out of their paid-days-off allowance. WHAT? Sign me up!

During this trial, the company paid employee up to 100,000 yen (the equivalent to about $940) to take their families on short vacations, or to give these employees financial help in learning additional skills. Can they pay me to go to Disney World?

The employees salaries were not adjusted for this challenge. In other words — THEY GOT PAID their normal salaries while taking days off!

They called this test the “Work-Style Reform” challenge, and the goal was to “Work a short time, rest well and learn a lot.”* Basically they wanted to see if the time off would boost productivity. Not surprisingly, it was a success.

The employees were 40% more productive when they were at work, even though they lost 20% of their work week.

Obviously, this is something that they may want to consider implementing on an permanent basis.

Other companies might want to pay attention. I speak from experience when I say that SO much time gets wasted at work by tired, stressed out, or burned out employees. Perhaps moving to a 4-day workweek would alleviate some of this non-productivity.

Time to refresh, recharge, and learn a new skill is an excellent plan to boost productivity.**

Way to go, Microsoft Japan!! May others follow your genius plan.

* Takuya Hirano, president and CEO of Microsoft Japan
** In my humble opinion

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