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Microsoft are the latest company to test out a four day week. Results of the trial show it brought a range of benefits for the firm and its employees
A four day week experiment at Microsoft saw productivity leap by 40%.
The software giant has released the results of a trial held earlier this year.
The firm’s Japan office was closed for five Fridays in a row through August. Employees were paid the same for working one day fewer each week.
Across the workforce of over 2000 employees productivity soared for the duration of the trial. The uptick was measured at 40%, far outweighing the 20% reduction in working hours.
Workers also reported being happier. The company benefited from more efficient meetings.
In addition to the increased productivity, employees took 25% less time off during the trial. Electricity use was down 23% in the office with the additional day off per week. Employees printed 59% fewer pages of paper during the trial. The vast majority of employees – 92% – said they liked the shorter week.
The firm is set to repeat the experiment in the winter months. It’s not clear whether they are ready to adopt a shorter working week more broadly just yet.
“In the spirit of a growth mindset, we are always looking for new ways to innovate and leverage our own technology to improve the experience for our employees around the globe,” a Microsoft spokesman said.
The four day week is an increasingly hot potato in both the world of work and politics. Microsoft are only the latest in an increasingly long line of companies that have tried it out. But the size, success and visibility of Microsoft and its founder Bill Gates – as well as the striking results – marks this one out as particularly noteworthy.
The results of our annual survey showed almost all working parents would welcome a shorter working week. Labour’s general election manifesto includes a pledge to work towards introducing a four day week as standard over the next decade.