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Microsoft tried a four-day work week in Japan, and productivity increased

The office became more eco-friendly as well, according to a report.


Microsoft adopted a four-day work week in Japan.

Angela Lang/CNET

Microsoft's Japan office last week reported positive results after trying out a four-day work week over the summer. The program, called Work Life Choice Challenge, required offices to shut down every Friday in August, giving employees an extra day off every week. The results included a 40% improvement in productivity, Microsoft said in a press release, even though less time was spent at work. 

The staff also was encouraged to spend less time responding to emails or attending meetings, which mostly lasted no more than 30 minutes or were conducted via Microsoft Teams, the company's online messaging app. 

The shorter work week also led to an environmentally-friendly shift. It saw a decrease in paper printing by almost 60% and electricity usage was down by more than 20%, the company found.

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