Nearly all UAE, Saudi firms now 'comfortable' with remote work

But many of them face technical issues that tend to slow down staff

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. Entrepreneur concentrating on work while daughter playing at home office.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Entrepreneur concentrating on work while daughter playing at home office.

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Most businesses in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are getting more used to the idea of having their teams work outside their offices, according to new research.

In a survey conducted by Riverbed, an American IT company, among business leaders in the two Gulf states, 95 percent of respondents said they were comfortable with the broad-scale shift towards remote work. However, many of them do face some challenges.

About 97 percent of the respondents said that so far technology performance issues have impacted the experience of their remote workers.

The most common issues they have faced, though resolvable, include frequent disconnects from corporate networks, as reported by 43 percent of the business leaders.

Many are also frustrated when it comes to obtaining relevant files, with 41 percent reporting slow downloads. 

There are those who are turned off by apps not working properly (40 percent) and long response times when loading apps (39 percent).

“This new study shows that business leaders are now much more comfortable with their teams working remote, however, organizations must have the right technology in place to ensure greater productivity and a better experience as employees increasingly work from anywhere,” said Rich McBee, president and CEO of Riverbed.

Last March the UAE government told non-essential businesses to shut their doors and send their staff home in a bid to stem the spread of coronavirus. Companies have already reopened, with some business owners calling more than a third of their staff back to the office.

Prior to the pandemic, businesses had already allowed some of their employees to work outside their office, but the recent lockdown had accelerated the shift to remote work.

When the pandemic first broke, 68 percent of the business leaders in the UAE and Saudi Arabia said they were not completely prepared.

The performance issues faced by remote workers have not only impacted employees but businesses as well.

About 41 percent of them said that the technical disruptions have resulted in weaker employee performance and lack of productivity and reduced direct services to customers and clients (37 percent).  About 41 percent also said the technical delays are not helping them achieve a sense of clarity on strategic priorities.

Remote work to continue

Despite the challenges, more than one in five (22 percent) said they expect half or more of their employees to work remotely, either on a full time or half time basis.

On average, 28 percent of the business leaders expect employees to work remotely even after the coronavirus pandemic is over.

in order to make remote working more efficient, the large majority (79 percent) of the respondents plan to make additional technology investments. For 41 percent of them, the investments they intend to make in the next 12 months will be “significant.”

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)

cleofe.maceda@refinitiv.com

#UAE #Saudi #WFH #Business

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