The pilot trial named Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019 took place in August. "I want people to think about and learn how they can achieve the same results with 20 percent less working time," said CEO Takuya Hirano in a post on the Microsoft Japan website. In addition to more productive employees, the company reported fewer applications for paid time off and lower resource consumption ̵
These results come from such an influential company and such a large sample space and are impressive, but it is impressively unclear how the statistics were measured. Power and printing costs would be obvious, but it is not clear how Microsoft rates more abstract concepts such as happiness and productivity.
Microsoft is not the first company to try this. Organizations and schools in Europe and Oceania have introduced four-day weeks, often with positive results. A small number of companies in the US have half-day Fridays during the summer. However, Microsoft's popularity in the business world makes the experiment particularly noteworthy.
Overload is a problem, especially in the technology industry, which negatively impacts workers, their production and the company itself. According to The Guardian it is unclear whether Microsoft will run the pilot program in other offices or whether it is considering converting a four-day work week into an actual policy. However, when it comes to a shortening of the work plan, at least employees in Japan seem to be on board.