Microsoft found a way to increase your productivity while reducing work hours

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After experimenting with different working arrangements, Microsoft has discovered that operating on a four-day working week -- on full pay -- workers are not only happier, but also more productive.

The company tried out the new working model in its Japan offices, as part of its Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019 project. Despite all members of staff being given Fridays off, productivity actually increased by an impressive 40 percent.

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There are few people who would turn their noses up at the idea of a longer weekend, so the fact that the 2,300 workers who took part in the experiment were found to be happier is little surprise. It's something that was almost certainly helped by the fact that a reduction in hours did not mean a reduction in pay.

Microsoft Japan's experiment took place in August, and employees were given five consecutive Fridays off. In addition to reducing the working week to just four days, meetings were limited to 30-minutes each, with an emphasis placed on online chats rather than face-to-face meet-ups wherever possible.

The vast majority of workers were more than happy with the change -- 92 percent, in fact. And Microsoft was not only rewarded with a happier, more productive workforce, it was also able to reduce costs. There was a 25 percent reduction in absenteeism, electricity usage was slashed by nearly a quarter, and paper usage was reduced as workers printed 59 percent fewer pages.

Full results of the experiment can be found on the Microsoft Japan website, unsurprisingly in Japanese.

Image credit: Sundry Photography / Shutterstock

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