The United Arab Emirates, one of the largest economies in the Middle East, is moving to a new four-and-a-half-day workweek schedule, with Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday forming the new weekend for the United Arab Emirates. government employees. The Emirates’ shift to the new work week is expected to boost remote working and align the Gulf country with major markets in the West and Asia, making communications somewhat easier for tech leaders who need to communicate with affiliates globally.
According to a survey by Mercer Middle East, the majority of surveyed companies (57%) have a preference for adopting the new UAE weekend model. “Employers in the UAE should continue to offer flexibility to staff, particularly for parents as schools will operate half a day on Fridays and to accommodate religious needs,” said Ted Raffoul, Business Leader for Career and Workforce Products of Mercer, MENA, in a report.
“Offering staff the option of working from home, or working flexible days and hours, will support the attraction and retention of talent,” Raffoul said.
Flexible remote working, initially seen as a way to continue operations during the pandemic, has now found many stakeholders in the United Arab Emirates and the Gulf region in general, who have embraced a future of remote working.
The new work week can lead to faster decision making
The move to the new work week will accelerate the pace of approvals and decision-making, said Taj El-khayat, regional director for the Middle East and North Africa at Citrix.
Now that the weekend is Saturday and Sunday, it has become easier for employees at the company’s regional headquarters in Dubai to report to the European and US offices. It started early.
“Friday has been an important day for the Arabic-speaking region, but as the world goes global, further alignment and unification of international standards are extremely important,” said El-Khayat. “The UAE has done it now and the rest of the Gulf will soon follow,” he added.
The decision will also bring other benefits for companies. According to the Mercer survey, 84% of the companies surveyed believe that the new weekend will have a positive impact on international transactions. However, 37% of companies were unsure of the impact of the new weekend on business in the Middle East.
For companies that choose to fully align with the government’s Friday, Saturday and Sunday noon weekend, there are many considerations regarding work hours, with two out of three employers stating that work hours will not be increased. , nor the remuneration. be affected, in order to compensate for the reduced working hours, according to the Mercer report.
Rimini Street, a global provider of business software support products, expects its customers in the United Arab Emirates to rely more on the company’s services.
With the new work week, most UAE-based companies will have fewer hours a week to achieve their goals and this means they will have to rethink their priorities, said Emmanuelle Hose, GVP and Regional General Manager, EMEA, in Rimini. Street.
“We expect more organizations to outsource support and maintenance, as well as running their IT, so they can focus on delivering innovations that support their business growth,” he added.
New flexibility drives VoIP
The new work week comes as a result of a relaxation of the rules to allow remote work. After the start of the pandemic in 2020, the UAE implemented technology reforms and relaxed long-established regulations in its efforts to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. For the first time, companies gained access to applications such as Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business, as well as the Zoom teleconferencing application.
The new workweek is seen as the latest milestone that allows for work flexibility and is expected to further accelerate the use of these apps.
“While remote work proved to be a necessity due to pandemic regulations, it is refreshing to see that it is recognized as an asset and an asset to businesses, educational institutes and government authorities alike,” said Sam Tayan, Director. by MENA in Zoom. .
“We believe that embracing remote working is a sign of organizations’ regard for improving work-life balance and is therefore refreshing to witness and is sure to boost employee morale,” Tayan said.
The global VoIP market was valued at more than $ 30 billion in 2020 and is estimated to grow at a rate of 15 percent annually from 2021 to 2027, according to GMI Insights.