The tech giant focused on motivating their full-time staffers to increase their creativity and productivity in exchange for paid leave on all Fridays of the month!
The four-day workweek is quite the trendsetter among startups. Jumping onto the wagon is Microsoft, with the implementation of the same policy on a trial basis. Surprisingly, the additional day off proved to be profitable for both the employees and employers. According to PEOPLE, the tech company introduced its "WorkLife Choice Challenge" in its Japanese offices via a statement released in August this year. Their objective was to motivate their full-time staffers to increase their creativity and productivity in exchange for paid leave on all Fridays of the whole month. The results confirmed that this method could work for giant businesses as well.
The statement also disclosed how productivity - measured by sales per employee - went up by almost 40% after the work time was curtailed dramatically. The results of this trial month showed a drastic increase in performance by 39.9% compared to the outcome of the same period last year. This experimental work routine also focused on the way employees communicate on an everyday basis. Instead of having them spend time on meetings, they asked their staff to use Microsoft's collaboration tool, Microsoft Teams.
Due to the staggering results of the Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019, the company had planned to grant ¥100,000 or $920 to their employee for family vacations as part of the program reports The Guardian. "Work a short time, rest well and learn a lot," said president and CEO of Microsoft Japan, Takuya Hirano. "I want employees to think about and experience how they can achieve the same results with 20% less working time." Apart from heightening productivity, this trial also saw a 25% drop in the leaves taken by employees. The statement also revealed how the employee's overall happiness was boosted dramatically, with more than 90 percent of them saying that the latest adjustments impacted their day to day life enormously.
Not only were the employees benefitting, but this trial period also positively affected the carbon footprint created by the offices. Electricity consumption reduced by 23% and employees printed 59% lesser paper. Owing to the positive results obtained from this trial, Microsoft plans to run a similar trial in Japan this winter. Of course, this isn't the first time a company tried out a four-day workweek. According to The New York Times, Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand company conducted a pilot program experiment in 2018 in which 240 of their employees were asked to work four days a week during the months of April and March while the pay was provided for the additional day as well.
For those who think that working all hours, all days of the week is what makes great science, a little experiment, courtesy of Microsoft Japan 👇— Prof. Vanessa Diaz (@vdiazucl) 4 November 2019
They tested a four-day work week. Productivity jumped by 40% and the employees? happier! https://t.co/j47cupKIt9@tigerinstemm
The firm hired two researchers to calculate its productivity and found a 24% increase during the short work week thus improving employees' work-life balance. Supervisors also reported an increase in attendance and creativity. Moreover, they revealed how the staff was way more punctual and didn't take long breaks or leave early during that period. Their website states that they have adopted this schedule full time now.
The challenge is to go beyond experiments and to a permanently shorter working week https://t.co/pZj6E1WPqR— David Spencer (@Spencer_DavidA) 4 November 2019
When the results of the Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019 hit Facebook, people wished for the same to be implemented at their workplace. @Hazel Low Yushan wrote: In Singapore, most people overwork beyond official hours. A part-time job is like a full-time job with part-time pay. A full-time job is like multiple full-time roles with full-time pay. It will be great if we can adopt a 3-weekend work week to have more time for families and rest and yet renewed productivity at work. @Joshua, on the other hand, had a different suggestion: Maybe companies are out of touch. Three-day weekends are not needed. Merely alternating work/day off cycles: M, W, F, Su work and T, Th, Sa off will make for a better weekly schedule where grooming is maintained, laziness does not have a chance to set in, and employees are always at their best to give a full work day’s effort.
I mean me too 🙂— Rick O'Shea (@rickoshea) 5 November 2019
But just in general the seeming benefits from trials in vastly differing fields seem to be huge. Mental health, productivity, less energy usage...