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Microsoft tested a 4-day workweek in Japan, and productivity increased

Could working less make us more productive? Many companies have been testing the idea of a four-day workweek, and now Microsoft in Japan is giving it a try. 

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This summer in Japan the company introduced a program called “Work Life Choice Challenge.” During the program, Microsoft shut down its offices every Friday, giving employees an extra day off each week. 

The company was surprised to see that employee productivity increased by almost 40% compared to the same time period during the previous year, according to CNN

But cutting the workweek down to four days was only one piece of the puzzle. Managers also urged staff to cut down on the time they spent in meetings and responding to emails. 

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“The effects were widespread. More than 90% of Microsoft's 2,280 employees in Japan later said they were impacted by the new measures, according to the company,” CNN reported. “By shutting down earlier each week, the company was also able to save on other resources, such as electricity.”

The four-day workweek is nothing new. Recently, labor unions have been pushing to cut back the amount of hours Americans work per week. 

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