Microsoft has successfully trialed a four-day working week in Japan. It saw improvements in workers' productivity and job satisfaction. The trial took place at the tech giant's Tokyo headquarters. Employees had every Friday off as paid leave in August. Analysts monitored the effects of a three-day weekend on workers' performance. They found the shorter working week resulted in several benefits. Productivity rose by 40 per cent and 92 per cent of workers expressed their satisfaction with the trial. It could change Japan's infamous workplace practices of long hours and overtime.
The trial was called the Work-Life Choice Challenge. It aimed, "to create an environment where each employee can choose a diverse and flexible way of working according to the circumstances of their work and life". It included shortening the length of meetings to a maximum of 30 minutes and asking workers to chat online rather than face-to-face. In addition, Microsoft said electricity bills were down by 23 per cent and 59 per cent fewer pages were printed compared with August 2018. Microsoft will repeat the experiment in Japan later this year. It asked for employee input.