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Never happening in India: Microsoft Japan's three-day weekend leads to 40% rise in productivity

Never happening in India: Microsoft Japan's three-day weekend leads to 40% rise in productivity

While Japan struggles to tackle the problem of excessive work affecting employees’ health, the US tech giant Microsoft tested out a four-day work week in its Japan offices and found as a result employees were not only happier – but significantly more productive.

The Japanese unit of the US IT giant closed its offices every Friday in August, giving all 2,300 full-time workers special leave. It also restricted meetings to a maximum of 30 minutes, and encouraged online chats as an alternative to face-to-face communications. The number of participants at meetings was limited to five, and workers were also encouraged to use online communication instead of emails, it said. The results were positive, with sales per employee rising almost 40 per cent in August from a year earlier, electricity consumption down by a quarter and paper usage being cut in half.

 
 

The trial, called the Work-Life Choice Challenge 2019, was an attempt to provide a better working environment through reduced working time.

In an attempt to promote work-life balance, the company also offered assistance for employee’s travel expenses and family vacations. The results were positive, with sales per employee rising almost 40 per cent in August from a year earlier, electricity consumption down by a quarter and paper usage being cut in half.

With the trial hailed as a success by 92 per cent of its staff, the company said that they are ready to launch a second Work-Life Choice Challenge. It plans to launch a similar programme this winter -- but won't offer special leave. Instead, employees will be encouraged to use their existing holiday days. The programme comes as Japan's government pushes for more "flexible work styles," urging business to accept telecommuting, different part-time schedules and off-peak commuting.

 
 
 



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