The pilot test, called the Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019, took place during August. "I want employees to think about and experience how they can achieve the same results with 20 percent less working time," says CEO Takuya Hirano in a post on Microsoft Japan's website. On top of more productive workers, the company reported fewer requests for paid free and fewer resources used ̵
Coming from such an influential company and such a large sample space, these results are impressive, but it is not clear how the statistics were measured. Costs for power and printing would be obvious, but it is not clear exactly how Microsoft measured 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 days weeks, often with positive results. A small number of companies in the US have half-day Fridays during the summer. But Microsoft's prominent role in business makes the experiment particularly remarkable.
Overtime is a problem, especially in the technical industry, which has a negative impact on workers, their production and the company itself. According to The Guardian it is not clear whether Microsoft will run the pilot program at other offices or whether it is considering making a four-day work week an actual policy. But if it introduces a reduced work schedule, it looks like at least employees in Japan will be on board.