A tech company’s revolution in Japan: they work four days a week and productivity increased 40%

In Japan,a country known for its overtime work, Microsoft’s local subsidiary recently experienced a reverse field and achieved better productivity with less work thanks to a four-day work week.

In August, Microsoft Japan closed its offices every Friday giving one more weekly rest to its 2,300 local employees, the company explained.

The subsidiary also limited work meetings to 30 minutes and five participants maximum, and promoted online communication – with a chat system – rather than in person or by email.

The result: productivity per worker increased by 39.9% in August – over the course of a year – and electricity consumption fell by 23.3% and printed paper by 58.7%, according to Microsoft Japan.

Employees want to have varied ways of working,” said the company, which plans to launch a similar program this winter, but without granting a special day off this time: workers will have to use their existing vacation days.

This experiment intervenes at a time when the Japanese government is trying to promote more flexible working modes,such as home office,part-time work, and changing office hours to avoid rush hour on transports.

These initiatives are mainly intended to combat the phenomenon of “karoshi” (death from overwork) and to promote birth, which is declining in the country. Instead, its adoption was limited among local businesses.

 

 

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