Shorter work week enhances productivity at Microsoft, Japan

The summer programme of four-day working has led to increase in productivity by 40%.


In a bid to ensure that its employees enjoy better work-life balance, Microsoft had tried out a four-day work week in Japan. The staff members were allowed a long weekend starting Friday, which means, they got three days off. And not surprisingly, the productivity increased by 40 per cent.

Compared to the sales achieved during the same time last year, the increase in sales this year was significantly high. As part of the trial programme, the employees were also asked to spend lesser time on replying to e-mails and attending meetings. The duration of meetings was first limited to a maximum of half an hour. Later, they were told to use an online messaging app instead of physical meetings, thereby doing away with meetings altogether.

A positive impact was felt by over 90 per cent of the 2,280 strong workforce. In addition, there was a drastic dip in the electricity consumption, a fall of over 23 per cent as compared to last year. Going digital also reduced consumption of paper.

About 58.7 per cent less paper was consumed this summer as compared to last summer, with the need for printouts being controlled.

In India, meanwhile, last month, the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) rejected a request by employee unions to implement a five-day week. The logic was that since public sector banks cater to rural and semi-urban areasreducing the working days may will adversely impact the connect with customers, especially when it comes to the direct benefit transfer schemes.

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