Source: Microsoft / Microsoft Corporation

MICROSOFT – one of the world’s leading companies, is trying or just maybe setting a trend.

Workers at Microsoft Japan enjoyed a perk this summer: working four days a week, enjoying a three-day weekend — and getting their normal, five-day paycheck.

The result, the company says, was a productivity boost of 40%. Not only that, 90% of the workers preferred the shorter work week, the company used 23% less electricity and on the other hand the workers printed 59% fewer pages!!!

Even though this was only a trial, all of the employees who took Fridays off were given special paid leave, the company says. Encouraged by the results, it plans to hold a similar trial in the winter.

Because of the shorter workweek, the company also put its meetings on a diet. The standard duration for a meeting was slashed from 60 minutes to 30 — an approach that was adopted for nearly half of all meetings. In a related cut, standard attendance at those sessions was capped at five employees.

Is this a new trend that will be followed by other companies?  We don’t know yet, but by looking at the productivity numbers, I’m sure other companies will at least give it a try.