How would you react if your employer offered you a four-day work week? We mean, after you immediately said yes.

Microsoft tried it with employees in Japan and made a surprising discovery. The move made people more productive. By a lot.

Microsoft Japan, as part of a challenge program during the summer of 2019 to balance work and life for employees, offered them the four-day week and every Friday off, and productivity jumped by nearly 40 percent.

And the increased productivity wasn’t the only shock. The carbon footprint was reduced, too. Because the office was closed on Fridays, electricity use dropped by 23 percent.

As Forbes points out, the concept is popular with employees. Duh.

The chance to have that one extra day to relax, take care of errands, engage in a hobby, spend more time with family and get a mental-health break is intoxicating.

There are companies in the U.S. that offer the four-day work week, hoping to increase productivity and as an employment and recruiting incentive. And there are other benefits, too.

Where do we sign up?

In brief

Less limited: The IRS announced this week higher limits for 401(k) contributions and more for 2020, and of course you should take advantage.

From Forbes:

The amount you can contribute to your 401(k) or similar workplace retirement plan goes up from $19,000 in 2019 to $19,500 in 2020. The 401(k) catch-up contribution limit—if you’re 50 or older in 2020—will be $6,500 for workplace plans, up from $6,000.

How many people max out their 401(k) contributions? According to Vanguard, only 13 percent of Americans, although the percentage goes up significantly for those who earn more than $150,000. 

But your retirement fund is your chance to pay your future self first, with pre-tax dollars. And even if you can’t max out, make sure you’re at least getting all of your employer’s match, if it’s offered. That’s just free money.

Score! Just Start Investing makes a valuable point this week, detailing the powerful benefits of a good credit score. Here’s the article’s quick take on why that’s important.

People with strong credit ratings get access to better financial opportunities throughout their lifetime. For example, they can access low-interest loans and high-rewards credit cards more easily. These perks have the ability to save thousands of dollars (if not more) over your lifetime.

And those are great benefits, but they’re not the only ones. Also on the list: Better rental options and lower car insurance rates.

Don’t have a great credit score? The article also offers tips for improving yours, although it takes a lot longer to repair one than it does to trash it.

Tips of the week

Hustlin’: Need some extra income this holiday season? Check out this list of the 17 best ways to earn money online, from Making Sense of Cents.

Livin’ large: U.S. News has tips this week for how to invest for a long retirement. And we all want one of those, right? Among the suggestions: Don’t try to go it alone. Find the right financial adviser for your needs.

Subscribe to the EveryIncome Newsletter

Get free personal finance articles + first look at our new site

Share this