Microsoft Japan tried a four-day workweek, and people got more done

Microsoft Logo at Ignite
Microsoft Logo at Ignite (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft Japan tested a four-day workweek for an entire month.
  • The experiment led to increased productivity.
  • During the same time period, employees took less time off and used fewer resources.

Microsoft Japan gave employees an entire month of three-day weekends in July of 2019. The "working reform project" was part of the Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019 (via SoraNews 24). During the project, Microsoft Japan saw increased productivity by employees and a reduction of used resources.

As reported by SoraNews 24, employees took 25.4 percent fewer days off, used 23.1 percent less electricity, and printed 58.7 percent fewer pages during the project. Some resource reduction would occur simply by lowering the number of working days, such as reducing electricity use, but the reductions were higher than what would occur by simply reducing consumption by 20 percent.

During the same time period, productivity increased by 39.9 percent. Unsurprisingly, 92.1 percent of employees said they enjoyed working four days per week.

Though one month is a small sample size, the project indicates that there could be some merit to reducing working hours within a week. Some believe "Parkinson's Law," which states that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." There's a chance that people are more efficient when given smaller windows to complete work.

How many days do you believe employees should work in a week? Let us know in the comments below.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at