Microsoft’s 3-day weekend trial might pave the way for a new way of working

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You might want to show the results of this three-day weekend trial to your boss.

Ah, the three-day weekend. It’s an idea that many of us dream about, especially on a particularly anxiety-inducing Sunday night. And for good reason, as recent research suggests that two days off just isn’t enough. One study showed that taking only two days off per week isn’t good for our internal body clocks. And another reported that staff stress levels decreased by 7% after a three-day weekend trial at a New Zealand company.

And yet, most of us in the UK are still trapped in the Monday–Friday work cycle. But this could be about the change, thanks to a high-profile trial that has concluded with some staggering results (which you might just want to show your boss).

Microsoft has found that three-day weekends increase employee productivity by 40%. The computing company’s Japanese arm gave 2,300 members of its staff every Friday off for a month’s trial. Although employees spent 20% less time in the workplace, they were 39.9% more productive.

And that’s not all. Absence also went down by more than a quarter (25.4%) and the use of electricity went down by 23.1%.

So, what were the reasons for such an increase in productivity?

Well, because there was less time to get work done, people chose to spend less time in meetings. They were either shortened, took place online or cancelled altogether.

Unsurprisingly, 92.1% of workers said they enjoyed the four-day week and Microsoft said it is planning on repeating the exercise. 

And it’s not just about performing better inside working hours. When people get that extra day off to relax, they have more time to sleep, exercise, cook nutritious food or work on their relationships. 

Three-day weekends could some become a thing in the UK.
Three-day weekends could soon become a thing in the UK.

A recent report found that an increasing number of companies are warming up to the idea of “free Fridays” – but only in the summer months.

According to a survey by global research firm Gartner, 55% of American companies now operate a “Summer Friday” policy – up from 44% in 2018.With all of this in mind, surely it’s time for companies to wake up and start implementing this new, and better, way of working?

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…

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