New UAE workweek: Some companies have been offering 3-day weekend to employees

Many private sector companies are expected to shift to the new weekend announced by the government.

  
Businesspeople wearing masks in the office during COVID-19 pandemic. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Businesspeople wearing masks in the office during COVID-19 pandemic. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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The UAE will transition into a four-and-a-half-day workweek from January 1, 2022. This will see government employees get Saturday and Sunday, and Friday half-day as the new weekend.

Many private sector companies are also likely to shift the weekend to Saturday-Sunday for their employees.

However, some companies in the UAE have already been offering four-day workweeks to their employees for a better work-life balance and to reduce the cost of operations.

Deepa Sud, CEO at Plum Jobs, said some “organisations are offering employees four-day employment to lower their payroll costs and not lose valuable employees.”

The Dubai-based digital marketing and communication firm Active DMC is one of the first companies in the private sector to adopt a shorter four-day working week since September.

“A shorter week does have a direct impact on productivity, with a better work-life balance. The UAE has opened the way for others to follow suit and will be watched even more closely as they show the world that embracing change is the way forward,” said Sawsan Ghanem, managing partner for digital, marketing and communications at Active DMC.

“Once again the UAE government demonstrated that they are pioneers in their vision and are very much in tune with the fundamental elements of change with its approach to the place of work and peoples' well-being at the heart of their plans and policies,” she added.

Anurag Kumar, managing director, Mindfield Resources, said many companies follow flexible timings and workdays.

“It is not uncommon in the technology industry to have one or two days per week and WFH practice. However, officially four working days is not a known phenomenon in our part of the world. Several pilot studies have been conducted in European countries to shorten work hours and working week to four days with mixed results. Japan and Scotland have tried this as well for the well-being of their populations,” he concluded.

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