Microsoft launched a four-day work week experiment in its Japan office in August this year. The American multinational after the experiment found that employees were happier and more productive.
The project called – Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2018 gave Microsoft Japan's entire workforce of 2,300 people five Fridays off in a row without decreasing pay.
Throughout the month it was found that the meetings were more efficient, workers were happier, and the productivity rose by 40 per cent. The company has also decided to subsidise family vacations for employees up to USD 920.
Microsoft's Japan President and CEO Takuya Hirano said, "Work a short time, rest well and learn a lot." On the company's website, he wrote that he wants the employees to achieve the results with 20 per cent less working time. Apart from increased productivity, employees took 25 per cent less time off during the trial. Electricity consumption reduced to 23 per cent as the office was shut by one extra day. There was a 59 per cent drop in usage of paper during the trial. Around 92 per cent of employees preferred a shorter week.
This is not the first time that a company performed such an experiment. Last year, a company with 240 staff members in New Zeland tried a four day work week over two months. After the trial, employees reported that there was an improvement in their work-life balance. Stress levels among the staff dropped by 7 per cent.
Multiple studies conducted in the past have said that with lesser work time, workers have proved to be more productive. A survey over 1,500 employees and 600 human resource managers conducted by Robert Half, an HR consulting firm found out that 66 per cent of the employees thought they can finish their work within five hours of the day.
In December last year, Harvard Business Review revealed that shorter workdays from the average 8 hours and 6-hour workday, increased productivity.
However, when we talk about the same in India, a recent survey by Kronos Incorporated showed that Indians would choose to work five days a week, even if they are paid equally for working four days. The other solution to this is to allow people to work remotely whenever possible. Most of the Indian companies have started to work remotely with functionalities of Azure Virtual desktop server and MS Teams as a communication platform. In recent years, flexible work timings, remote work options have been the top priorities of the Indian workforce, while considering a job opportunity. And organizations in India are embracing the change, but very slowly.