It seems that the lesser you work, the higher is the organizational productivity.
An experiment conducted by the tech-giant Microsoft (MSFT) in Japan during the summer of August 2019 where a 4-day work week was introduced surprisingly resulted in a 40% shoot up in the organizational productivity. Echoing corporate wellness, this program called the “Work-Life Choice Challenge” not just advocated a 4-day work week, but also supported the employees to reduce the time spent on responding to work-related emails and at meetings.
MSFT’s Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019 Project
The “Work-Life Choice Challenge” project aimed at establishing a work-life balance to the employees by giving them flexible working hours intending to boost creativity, performance, and organizational productivity.
Microsoft Japan’s “Work-Life Choice Challenge” project aimed at establishing a work-life balance to their 2,300 employees by giving them flexible working hours intending to boost creativity, performance, and employee productivity. According to the project, the meetings were limited to just 30-minutes while encouraging remote communication. Also, with Fridays given as a paid off, the employees came back refreshed the next week.
Compared to the August 2018 reports, August 2019 showed 39.9% higher productivity measured as the number of sales per employee, despite having just 4 working days a week. Also, the lesser number of working days reflected in 23.1% lower electricity costs and 58.7% fewer page prints.
Also, another firm in New Zealand also tried the 4-day work week and was so happy with the employee productivity and performance that they made it permanent working schedule for their company.
However, it depends on the profession and services offered by the company for the 4-day work week to be a success. For example, hospitality and medical care professionals and institutions cannot go on a shorter work week as they provide vital public services.
The Pomodoro Technique
A study showed out of the usual 8-hour workday, only 4 – 6 hours are spent working productively on the tasks, and the remaining hours are spent either by – chatting about non-work topics with colleagues, social media, longer breaks for smoking or eating, and other unproductive tasks. Also, the long meetings, and commuting to the workplace or for work-related activities added to the exhaustion acting as a productivity butcher.
Microsoft Japan implemented the Pomodoro Technique – a time management system in which the work hours are broken down into 25-minute sets called Pomodoros with a 5-minute break in between 2 Pomodoros. Usually, after 4 pomodoros, the employees take a longer 15-20 minute break.
The idea behind creating the 25-minute Pomodoro blocks is to build a sense of necessity and urgency about a certain task being completed. This keeps the employees away from other unproductive distractions and the frequent breaks in between also help them get over any feeling of workplace burnout. Many companies also locked away the phones to prevent distractions during work hours.
How Do Shorter Workdays Help With Corporate Wellness?
Being flexible in the workplace has helped many companies build a positive rapport with the employees. Along with the reduced overhead costs, environmental benefits, and economic savings, a shorter work week mirrored more creativity, loyal, focused, efficient, and productive employees whose morale was boosted and were happier, creating a positive culture of health promoting workplace wellness.
Also, with more flexibility in work hours and with the additional leverage of offering corporate wellness programs, the chances of employee retention and new skill acquiring become easier. Furthermore, with a 3-day off from work, the employees get more time for themselves and their family/friends, which helps with the work-life balance.
With the corporate wellness market blooming, many businesses have started offering suitable employee wellness programs. At Wellness360, we implement employee engagement strategies through our wellness program to improve employee health and achieve holistic wellness, which in turn boosts the company’s ROI.