Microsoft Japan's 4-day workweek boosted productivity by 40%

Microsoft Japan concluded that a month-long experiment, during which employees were asked to work four days a week, was positive for both the company and the employees.

The "Work Life Choice Challenge" kicked off in August, and all 2,300 employees were given three-day weekends in order to fully assess the pros and cons of working fewer hours. Employees were still paid for the Fridays they were not working during the experiment.

According to the Yahoo Finance video above, compared to August 2018, employee productivity jumped 40 percent. The number of papers printed was reduced by 58 percent, and electricity usage decreased by 23 percent.

20 PHOTOS
Best Jobs for Work-Life Balance
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Best Jobs for Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance score: 3.8

"Nice people with a high team spirit, a great work life balance, countless events, activities, and benefits and low hierarchies." —Wooga Game Designer (Berlin, Germany

> Find a job as a game designer

Work-life balance score: 3.8

"Flexible schedule, unlimited income, great work environment." —Century 21 Real Estate Broker (location, n/a)

> Find a job as a real estate broker

Work-life balance score: 3.8

"Lots of chances to move up or lateral moves if you don't like what you are doing. Environment values family and having a life outside of work." —Fluor Carpenter (Boulder, Colorado)

> Find a job as a carpenter

Work-life balance score: 3.8

"The flexibility, hours, and off on weekends with family are good for me. I do not have to pay for day care because of the hours. I don't have to work if I do not want to. I can pick and choose if I want to work that day or go to that school." — Killeen Independent School District Substitute Teacher (Killeen, Texas)

> Find a job as a substitute teacher

Work-life balance score: 3.9

"Excellent work/life balance with flexible scheduling. Fun, easy going environment." —Lawrence Technological University Help Desk Technician (Southfield, Michigan)

> Find a job as a help desk technician

Work-life balance score: 3.9

"Work/life balance is likely the best thing about this company. Training is excellent. Opportunities to do and try new things are always available." —Rackspace Sales Representative (San Antonio, Texas)

> Find a job as a sales representative

Work-life balance score: 3.9

"Employees are passionate about their work and enthusiastic about coming to work each day, striking an appropriate work-life balance." —NPR Office Assistant (Washington, D.C.)

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Work-life balance score: 4.0

"Incredible, lively, fun work culture. Very conscious about work-life balance (which is rare in D.C.)." —One Medical Group Administrative Assistant (Washington, D.C.)

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Work-life balance score: 4.0

"Collaboration, culture, benefits, diversity, openness to new ideas, great work-life balance. Great place to gain experience." —Wells Fargo Investment Analyst (location, n/a)

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Work-life balance score: 4.0

"Judges are friendly and approachable, salaries are competitive, IT support is outstanding, you can be an attorney here and still maintain a good work/life balance." —US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Law Clerk (Washington, D.C.)

> Find a job as a law clerk

Work-life balance score: 4.0

"The compensation is outstanding and there really is great work-life balance. Everyone you work with is highly intelligent. Leadership encourages innovation." —Tradebot Equity Trader (Kansas City, Missouri)

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Work-life balance score: 4.1

"Flexibility of your work schedule. Good salary. Your co-workers become a second family." —FDNY Firefighter (New York, N.Y.)

> Find a job as a firefighter

Work-life balance score: 4.1

"The culture feels like a college campus where you get to work with lots of smart people who also happen to be nice. Work/life balance is good." —Intuit Corporate Communications (Mountain View, California)

> Find a job in corporate communications

Work-life balance score: 4.2

"The team is incredible, there are plenty of people to learn from, there are many perks, and I always get the support I need to continually advance in my career. I also like maintaining a good work-life balance, and I can definitely do this at LinkedIn." —LinkedIn User Experience Designer (Mountain View, California)

> Find a job as a user experience designer

Work-life balance score: 4.2

"Flexible schedule, free membership to workout, nice group of fitness instructors who are generally very knowledgeable about their particular classes- i.e. Zumba, yoga, spinning, clean and reasonably well maintained gym, very nice aerobics studio- large, mirrors and good sound system." —LA Fitness Group Fitness Instructor (Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania)

> Find a job as a group fitness instructor

Work-life balance score: 4.3

"I feel that the work I do is important, both to Abstrakt and our clients but also to my professional development as well. Although I am kept busy, I also have a lot of fun at work and feel like I have a good work-life balance." —Abstrakt Social Media Manager (St. Louis, Missouri)

> Find a job as a social media manger

Work-life balance score: 4.3

"Easy to get time off, shifts traded around, the management was nice most of the time. The members were friendly and there were lots of free workout perks." —YMCA Lifeguard (location, n/a)

> Find a job as a lifeguard

Work-life balance score: 4.3

"You learn a lot about Customer Service, you get to take different workshops and classes, and managers work with you and have your best interest at heart. You meet a lot of new people, and it is a great environment to work in." —The Fox Theatre – Atlanta Tour Guide (Atlanta, Georgia)

> Find a job as a tour guide

Work-life balance score: 4.3

"Great company culture, opportunity for growth, fun coworkers, work hard play hard mentality. We often have company outings, video game breaks, catered lunches." —Geek Powered Studios SEO Specialist (Austin, Texas)

> Find a job as an SEO specialist

Work-life balance score: 4.4

"Not only is everyone incredibly sharp and very good at their jobs, but also, almost without exception, everyone is a pleasure to work and associate with. I'm given an incredible work/life balance." —Facebook Data Scientist (Menlo Park, California)

> Find a job as a data scientist

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Japan has some of the longest working hours in the world — one in four companies expect employees to work up to 80 hours in overtime a month. In the US, a third of Americans report working 45 hours or more a week.

The trial also offered self-development and family wellness schemes that were met with positive feedback — 92% of employees said they loved the experimental four-day workweek.  

A 2018 study conducted by New Zealand firm Perpetual Guardian had similar findings. After implementing a two-month trial with four-day workweeks, staff said their stress levels were lower, and 78 percent of the group said they felt like their work-life balance was manageable, versus only 54 percent saying that pretrial. Performance across the board stayed relatively the same, if not slightly better. 

Microsoft Japan plans to hold another work-life challenge this upcoming winter, this time with the focus on encouraging employees to be more flexible and smarter with taking time off.

10 PHOTOS
The best jobs for healthy work-life balance
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The best jobs for healthy work-life balance

Data Scientist 
Salary: $106,939

Photo credit: Getty 

Social Media Manager
Salary: $107,473

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SEO Manager
Salary: $111,038

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Web Designer
Salary: $70,580

Photo credit: Getty 

Content Manager
Salary: $92,583 

Photo credit: Getty

Lab Assistant
Salary: $53,912

Photo credit: Getty

Dietician 
Salary: $56,890

Photo credit: Getty

Elementary School Teacher
Salary: $54,814 

Photo credit: Getty

Human Resources Manager 
Salary: $94,993 

Photo credit: Getty

Civil Engineer 
Salary: $95,550

Photo credit: Getty

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