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The biggest joy for every hard-working employee is probably when the calendar says it’s Friday, simply because it marks the onset of a much deserved weekend. We’re all accustomed to a five-day work week, even six in some countries. You must have wondered – “What if Fridays were off too?”.


Overwork and burning out


Japan is a country infamously known for overworking its employees. In fact, it’s been a battle for Japan, trying to bring down some of the longest working hours in the world owing to a shortage of labour and rapid ageing of a mass of the population. 


The Microsoft experiment


Microsoft Japan just spent August experimenting with a four-day work week, ironically so. Much to their surprise, sales per employee grew 40% when compared to the same month last year. Not only did this trial boost sales, but also cut costs at the Microsoft offices in the country with a 23% drop electricity used and a staggering 59% drop in pages printed when compared with August 2018.


The verdict


Although the Japanese Prime Minister’s urge to reduce overtime and make workplaces more flexible has received mixed reviews, this Microsoft experiment looks to be a winner among employees with 92% saying they were delighted with the four-day week according to a report on its website. 


This trial was termed as the “Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019”. It allowed full-time employees take five consecutive Fridays off in August. In addition to that, meetings were shortened to a maximum of 30 minutes and online chats were encouraged over face-to-face conversation.


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