Microsoft is testing how changing its office culture can improve overall productivity among its employees. A subsidiary of the company spent the summer testing whether or not a four day work week would benefit its employees mental health and boost work performance. Microsoft’s Japan offices closed on Friday’s throughout the month of August and implemented rules on meeting times to assure that the meetings stayed to the point. The company found that overall performance had raised by 39.9% compared to the previous year, proving that the extra time away from the office was beneficial for both the company and its employees.

The Death of the Nine To Five

More and more companies seem to be ditching the nine to five office style in favor of more flexible lifestyles as it becomes easier to work remote. Where employees once had to congregate within one office to get things done, they can now do so from the comfort of their home or remote office and communicate via productivity tools like Slack and Asana. If you were to ask many employees today how many meetings they take per week that could have just as easily done through an email thread, you would find that many agree that most meetings are just a waste of time. The same could be said with the eight hour work day, as productivity becomes increasingly more streamlined as technology progresses. Instead of sending a memo to a coworker, employees can simply send a quick Slack message and get on with their tasks.

Even if employees still have to work a full eight hours, many are being given the opportunity to do so from their home or a location of their choosing. While WeWork may be facing some turmoil in recent months, there is no doubt that the co-working model is the future of business, where one business can easily operate from dozens of locations around the globe without having to invest heavily in individual office spaces. Recent studies have proven that remote workers are also found to be more productive, as the ability to get things done on their own time shows that they’re more likely to work harder for a shorter period of time rather than take their time trying to fill a full 8 hour workday.

More Employees Want A 4 Day Work Week

Microsoft is one of the first major tech companies to test this out. The revelation that the extra day dedicated to rest and relaxation, as well as changes to meeting schedules proved to be nothing short of beneficial to the company and its employees. During the month of August this year the company closed its doors on Friday’s, offering paid leave to its full-time employees to compensate for the extra day. Microsoft also put limitations on how long a meeting can be in an attempt to get the most out of the four day week and help employees feel that they can stay focused throughout their day. This, combined with the extra time for employees to balance their work and private lives, helped boost productivity in the Japanese office by as much as 40% while the use of office resources cut major costs and decreased spending in the office. The company has not clarified whether or not it will fully adopt the 4 day work week from now on.