Labor exploitation is a problem we can find in any kind of work, of course.
However, labor crunch, associated with the video game industry, is an endemic problem for which solutions are slow to appear. But initiatives like Microsoft Japan's can help mitigate the issue by providing employees with a better quality of life, which seems to be reflected in their motivation to work.
Basically, what the company did was to experience a four-day weekly workday last summer. The result? Perhaps unsurprisingly, productivity has increased by about 40%. (via RockPaperShotgun).
According to Microsoft, its employees received a financial incentive not to work on Friday, and the result was greater happiness at work. Moreover, the company indicates that everyone has gained from the situation: workers have not even had to work overtime during the 4 days of work per week.
The Microsoft report (via The guardian) also talks about improving efficiency by reducing meetings, and in some cases using instant messaging. 92% of employees said they prefer the shorter week after the experiment is over.
Finally, Microsoft Japan has confirmed that it will repeat the experiment again during the winter.
Abílio Rodrigues (of Rivia) is the technology editor of IGN Portugal, a confessed music lover and PC gaming enthusiast. You can follow him on @KaikaneTR