Could the 4-day workweek actually become a thing? Microsoft seems to think so

Sometimes less is more.

We all know the work grind starts on Monday and wraps on Friday, but imagine you could get to restoration a little earlier in the week? Companies such as Microsoft, Shakeshack and other innovative tech companies have been experimenting with a 4-day workweek. The results? Higher levels of productivity.


Microsoft Japan released the findings of an experiment conducted over the month of August. The company cut the workweek by one day, making Friday the first full day of the weekend. By the end of the month, the company reported a 40% hike in productivity. This experiment was part of the ‘Work-Life Choice Challenge’ which was focused on bettering the balance between employees work and social life in order to get the best from their employees. The findings also found that 92% of employees said they were happy with the program by the end of its run.

As workspaces modernise and tech companies become the forefront of introducing flexible working hours and remote working opportunities, many companies are revisiting the classic workweek structure that was developed during the Great Depression.

According to the Independent UK, ‘A survey of more than 250 companies indicated that adopting a shorter working week could add to businesses’ bottom lines through increased staff productivity, as well as improved physical and mental health.’

Microsoft’s experiment also had positive results for the environment. The number of papers printed, was reduced by 58% and electricity consumption was reduced by 23%. Experiments such as these are becoming more popular as the diagnosis of burnout is fast increasing on a global scale.

Earlier this year, burnout was  recognised by the World Health Organisation and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as an “occupational phenomenon”.

As global work trends start to change, perhaps we will see the same changes in the work systems in South Africa.


Read more Career