Nearly two-thirds – 66 per cent – of UAE employees work from co-working spaces, third spaces or on-site at client offices, reflecting the growing trend of co-working spaces in the country, especially in Dubai, according to a new survey released on Thursday.

Released by the Gensler Research Institute, the findings from its Global Workplace Survey 2024 revealed that more than 9 out of 10 employees – 94 per cent – in exceptional workplaces have a choice in where they work within the office, granting them the autonomy to work across multiple settings and promoting a higher sense of value and engagement.

The study found that top-performing workplaces are often located in amenity-rich neighbourhoods and are part of a wider environment that includes diverse spaces such as libraries, cafes, outdoor areas, and co-working spaces.

“It’s time to redefine workplaces for the next evolution of work. Organisations and leaders need to shift their thinking beyond just returning to the office and instead focus on the opportunity to design high-performing spaces for people to work at their best,” said Janet Pogue McLaurin, global director of Workplace Research at Gensler.

The study was conducted by an anonymous, panel-based survey of over 16,000 full-time global office workers across 15 countries including the US, Mexico, Canada, UK, Germany, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the Philippines. Respondents were distributed across 10 client industries and represented a broad cross-section of company sizes, roles, ages, and geographies. The survey was fielded between October 31, 2023, and January 29, 2024. Respondents excluded full-time remote workers.

It also found that around 17 per cent of the UAE workforce works from home and 49 per cent are back in their office.

Nearly half – 49 per cent – of people work from the office, however, 71 per cent say they need to be in the workplace to maximise their individual and team’s productivity.

It also found that the UAE workers are the second most engaged of the 15 countries surveyed, spending as much as 62 per cent of their time working with others, learning or socialising.

Ranking the UAE third among 15 countries in exceptional workplaces, it found that over 9 out of 10 employees – 96 per cent – in high-performing workplaces say they have control over how they manage their time at work, compared to just over half of those in low-performing workplaces.

Nearly all employees – 97 per cent – of the most engaged employees said they were likely to stay with their company next year, compared to just 53 per cent of the least engaged.

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