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Work-Life Integration

Is The 4-Day Work Week Coming? Microsoft Says It Boosted Productivity

Are You Pro 4-Day Work Week? Tell Us In The Comments!

Microsoft Japan piloted a 4-day work week this summer and the results speak for themselves. According to a recent NPR article recapping the test:

  • There was a productivity boost of 40%
  • Electricity costs fell by 23%
  • Printing decreased by 60%

So how did it work?


  • This August, workers at Microsoft Japan worked four days a week, but earned their normal five-day paychecks as part of "Work Life Choice Challenge 2019 Summer"
  • Standard meetings ran 30 minutes (rather than an hour) & attendance was capped at 5 employees
  • Employees were encouraged to use chat software rather than emails/meetings

Next Steps

Microsoft Japan plans to run a similar test in the winter, but the company has not yet stated whether they will expand the test to other locations or make any official policy changes.

Microsoft isn't the only company toying with measures to boost productivity and work-life balance. In 2018, a New Zealand trust management company announced a 20% gain in employee productivity after testing a four-day work week (they've since made the policy permanent).

And a small tech consulting firm in Germany is toying with a different approach — a 5-hour workday. Workers were expected to arrive at 8, but could leave by 1. To accommodate the reduced hours, the company cut small talk with coworkers, social media, cell phone use, meetings longer than 15 minutes, and excessive email checking.

Still, recent research indicates that younger workers (mainly millennials and Gen Z) care more about flexibility than rigid walls between work and life.

As this recent New York Times article explains, "It's about employees shaping their jobs in ways that fit with their daily lives."

But more flexibility (and technology) could make it almost impossible to unplug...

So what do you think?

A 2018 Kronos Study found that when workers were asked, "If your pay is constant, how many days a week do you want to work?" the top response was four days. (This is all the more impressive given that "none" was on the list of choices.)

  • Is there something magical about a 4-day work week? How many days would you like to work/week if your pay remained constant?
  • How many days/week would you need to finish all your work?
  • If you had to choose between more flexibility or a shorter work-day and/or week, which would you choose and why?
Let us know in the comments!
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