As business has surged back after the downturn caused by the pandemic, companies are reopening their offices to full capacity, but most employees in the UAE prefer to continue working remotely, according to a new survey by networking and telecommunications hardware company Cisco. 

The study, which polled 1,050 full-time workers across the UAE, found that almost 90 percent of professionals want to work either in a hybrid or fully remote working model in the future.  

Overall, UAE workers who were given the opportunity to do their jobs outside the office said that remote working has made them happier and more motivated.  

The remote work culture has also developed a sense of loyalty in a lot of staff, with most respondents (61 percent) saying they would be less likely to explore new job opportunities if their current employer allows them to work in a flexible arrangement. This, Cisco noted, underscores the fact that “hybrid work is key for attracting and retaining talent”. 

“Employees have experienced the benefits of hybrid work first-hand and many have expectations for it to continue. While most organisations in the UAE recognise the importance of flexible working, there remain opportunities for further improvement,” said Reem Asaad, Vice President, Cisco Middle East and Africa. 

Cisco’s study also showed that organisations in the UAE have taken positive steps to help their staff ease back into normal office life, with 83 percent of the respondents saying their companies are supportive of hybrid working schemes.  

However, only less than a third (28 percent) said their companies are “fully prepared” for hybrid work practices, while 43 percent are deemed to be “prepared”. 

About seven out of ten (70 percent) workers also feel that their employer needs to rethink its culture and mindset, to make hybrid work truly inclusive. 

The study also highlighted that, as more businesses adopt hybrid work practices, there is a need to ensure sensitive data and information are protected.  

Two-thirds of those questioned said workers across their organisation understand that there are cyber risks to deal with when it comes to remote work. 

And it looks like a lot of UAE companies have done well in this aspect, with 68 percent of respondents believing their organisation has the right cybersecurity capabilities and protocols in place. 

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria )