In a new move to improve the work-life balance, Microsoft’s summer program of working for four days in a week has shown that the productivity amongst the employees increased by 40% by the end of the experiment. This program was conducted in Japan and it was known as "Work-Life Choice Challenge”. As per this exercise, the employees were given an off on Friday in August thus providing them with a three-day leave in a week.
As per reports, the results of the trial conducted by Microsoft in Japan showed that the amount of productivity measured by sales per employee increased by 40%. This increase was measured with respect to the sales conducted at the same time in the last year. Apart from reducing the working hours, as per the program, the managers also asked the employees to reduce the time that they have been spending on meetings and email responses. It was instructed to the employees that the time spent on meetings should also be reduced to a maximum of 30 minutes. They were alternatively also asked to stop meeting altogether and use an online messaging app developed by Microsoft. When surveyed, the company said that more than 90% of 2,280 Microsoft employees felt the impact of the new measures.
The positive effects of cutting time were also seen in other areas. As per the statement released by the company, the electricity consumption in August 2019 decreased by 23.1% in comparison to 2018. Not only this but going digital also helped the environment by printing 58.7% fewer papers in August 2018. Additionally, the statement by Microsoft also said that “Employees are seeking ‘Diversified Work Styles’, ‘Work-Life Choice’ is effective for realizing diverse work styles and groupwide - the challenge becomes a new motivation for improving work efficiency. Work to further improve work efficiency to realize fulfilling holidays and learning.”
Japan is known for having a ‘culture of overwork’ and there have been cases where overwork has even resulted in deaths. This problem of overwork has become so prevalent in Japan that they have coined a term for it called Karoshi. As per media reports, an employee in a Japanese advertising firm Dentsu committed suicide in 2015. As this happened on the day of Christmas, other staff members of the company said that the employee who took his own life had done a lot of overtime. Similarly, another incident came to light when a reporter in a Japanese Broadcast firm died after overworking. Her seniors said that she had worked overtime 159 hours a month before her death.