Employees at Microsoft’s Japan division enjoyed a four-day workweek throughout August and by the end of the month, the tech giant noticed a 40% rise in productivity when compared to the same month last year.

This experiment was part of Microsoft’s “Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019”. Employees got five consecutive Fridays off with pay. Also, the meetings were capped to a maximum time limit of 30 minutes.

These reformations led to almost 23 percent reduced electricity usage and 59% reduced paper printing. To stay updated, employees were encouraged to use online communication tools like Microsoft Teams.

It is worth noting that 92% of the employees were pleased with this four-day workweek policy. However, there is no word if the company would implement this policy on a long-term basis anytime soon.

As Bloomberg reports, Microsoft Japan has plans to conduct a similar challenge for the winter season. This time, however, employees won’t be compensated for the extra leaves but they will be encouraged to take time off “in a more flexible and smarter way”.

In case you’re not aware, Japan is one of the countries with the longest working hours in the world. This is mainly caused due to the labor shortage in the country. Experiments like these would certainly be a relief to the employees for gaining a better work-life balance.

As economic historian Robert Skidelsky says in his report, “People should have to work less for a living. Having to work less at what one needs to do, and more at what one wants to do, is good for material and spiritual well-being. Reducing working time – the time one has to work to keep ‘body and soul alive’ – is thus a valuable ethical objective.”

Looking at the success of the experiment, I hope more companies opt-in to see how a four-day workweek works out for their organization. So, what are your thoughts on working four days a week? Tell us in the comments.