Microsoft was looking to improve the work-life balance of its workforce, and as part of an experiment this August, it reduced the workdays in Japan to four, instead of the usual five. It also subsidised self-development programs, encouraged employees to learn more and spend more time with their families.
It decided to close its offices on Fridays, limit meetings to a maximum of 30 minutes, and promoted remote conferencing. The results were probably better than anyone imagined.
For the 2,300 employees that were part of the experiment, they have all seen their sales go up by almost 40 per cent. More than nine in ten (92.1 per cent) said they liked it.
Aside from a happier and more productive workplace, it was also said that Microsoft managed to cut down on costs. It used 23 per cent less electricity and printed 58 per cent fewer papers.
Microsoft Japan said that it's now planning on running a similar experiment this winter, with the goal of promoting flexible working. Remote and flexible working has long been considered a great way to boost productivity, improve the work-life balance of the workforce and cut on costs.
Japan has long been known as a country of overworked staff. Some research claims that the Japanese work more than 80 hours overtime a month (that's more than three hours of overtime for every workday of the month).