Microsoft experimented with a four-day work week in Japan. Productivity surged nearly 40%

Brett Molina


Published 8: 11 AM EST Nov 5, 2019

An experiment conducted by Microsoft employees in Japan may bolster support for the four-day work week.

Over the summer, Microsoft Japan participated in a challenge linked to balancing work and home life during which employees worked four days, getting Fridays off.

The challenge also adjusted elements such as shorter meetings (no longer than 30 minutes) and fewer invitees to meetings, in an effort to maximize efficiency.

Results of the challenge released last week found productivity in August was up nearly 40% compared to the same time a year ago, while electricity consumption fell 23% compared to August 2016.

A growing number of businesses in the U.S. have adopted a four-day work week to boost productivity and gain an edge in hiring. A survey conducted in April by the Society for Human Resource Management found 15% of organizations offer four-day work weeks, up from 13% in 2017.

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Paul Davidson contributed to this report. Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.

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