Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Japan gave its 2,300 employees off on Fridays for five consecutive weeks without making changes to their pay. Microsoft realized that these employees were happier and more productive than before.
The new project conducted by Microsoft Japan Office was carried out in August and was dubbed Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019. The 2,300 individuals in the workforce involved were instructed to have a 4-Day Workweek.
This action by Microsoft was partly influenced by a 2017 survey that revealed that a quarter of Japanese companies subjected their employees to over 80 hours of unpaid overtime per month.
In addition to the increased employee productivity, the test project revealed that paper printing reduced by 59% and electricity consumption by 23% when compared to August 2018.
A Microsoft spokesperson said that “In the spirit of a growth mindset, we are always looking for new ways to innovate and leverage our technology to improve the experience for our employees around the globe.”
The Second Microsoft’s Work-Life Choice Challenge
This winter, Microsoft said that it is planning to carry out a second Work-Life Choice Challenge except that it will not offer a similar ‘special leave.’ The company would instead encourage the employees to ‘rest smartly’ by taking off time for themselves. Takuya Hirano, the President, and CEO of Microsoft Japan, said that “Work a short time, rest well and learn a lot. I want employees to think about and experience how they can achieve the same results with 20% less working time”.
In addition to the short work weeks, Microsoft also planned the subsidized the employees’ family vacations to $920. At the end of the trial project, the challenge proves to boost productivity by 40% resulting from happier employees and efficient meetings.
Notably, this challenge by Microsoft Japan was a pilot project, and the company has not decided whether to official enroll and implement it to its other offices and for the long term. Moreover, the second challenge this winter is expected to provide the tech giant with more information and data to make a long-term decision about its workforce productivity.