As the UAE faces another bout of heavy rainfall and unstable weather, private sector employees are urging their employers to provide them with remote work opportunities, similar to their counterparts in the government sector.

Despite the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation's (MoHRE) recommendation for private sector companies to prioritise employee safety, several employees woke up on Tuesday to find themselves obligated to commute to their offices.

Khider Adil, an employee at a private sector company in Abu Dhabi, made the difficult decision to work from home due to the hazardous weather conditions. "Leaving the house and driving in these current weather conditions would put my life and the lives of others at stake," Khider explained to Khaleej Times.

He informed his workplace that he would not be able to make it to the office due to the intense rainfall and poor visibility. Fortunately for him, his company was understanding.

Shaima Abou Alsaad, an architect residing in Sharjah and working in Dubai, revealed the the struggles faced by professionals whose jobs require in-person meetings. "Meeting with clients to understand their requirements is a significant part of my job, requiring my presence," Shaima expressed. "However, my clients were also not considering going anywhere in this weather."

After persistently requesting the opportunity to work remotely, Shaima emphasised the need for a little flexibility in the private sector to accommodate such situations.

While some private sector employees grapple with the challenge of balancing professional commitments with safety concerns, others, such as healthcare workers, are unable to work remotely due to the nature of their roles. Mahra A, who works in the private healthcare sector in Abu Dhabi, stated, "The nature of my work necessitates my physical presence, and I cannot provide the same level of care remotely."

Workers in the private sector expressed their dissatisfaction regarding working from offices on Tuesday via social media. A netizen, @ohoudali20, posted a video while on the road heading to work, with the caption, “Rain, thunder, lightning, heavy rain. Workers in the private sector are still heading to work.”

And the poster continued the thread with another tweet that said: “Are those who work in the private sector immune to disasters?”

While the first day of unstable weather conditions subsides, meteorological authorities have issued warnings of a second day on Wednesday. Rain, thunderstorms, lightning, and hail are all expected to occur in the area.

While remote work has been widely activated in government entities across the emirates, some exceptions exist for roles that require physical presence. One such example is Hisham, a 28-year-old resident of Sharjah who diligently attended his work despite the unfavourable weather.

Hisham's presence was requested due to his role in the Aman operation. Aman integrates a 24/7 fire alarm communicator system that enables Sharjah Civil Defence to centrally monitor, detect, and report fire alarms in various buildings across the city.

Hisham understood the significance of being physically present, especially during the rain and unstable weather conditions.

"It was very difficult to reach work, with the trip taking longer due to different routes. But I knew that today, of all days, I had to make it there," Hisham emphasised.

As private sector employees continue to advocate for equal remote work rights, the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) forecasts a gradual decrease in rainfall by evening, with conditions expected to improve further by Thursday.

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