In what could easily be called a proactive move, the UAE has set the agenda for work-life balance. It has introduced a four-and-half work week, beginning Monday, with Friday as a half day and Saturday/Sunday as the weekend. In essence, your weekend begins mid-Friday. While this changeover applies to the federal government, it is likely to embrace other parts of the economy as well.
All government offices will now start the New Year with a new weekend. In many ways, the transition to a Saturday-Sunday weekend brings the UAE in synch with the workings of global markets, institutions and offices.
When the world has become one big workplace, it is but natural that all economies work in a seamless manner. The UAE has set the agenda not just for itself but for the entire region. Like a beacon that heralds a bigger transformation, this is a necessary step to create an attractive and sustainable destination for global investment flows.
The message is profound: We are a modern city setting global benchmarks in an inter-connected world. We need to be ahead of the curve. Always. But it’s not just a macro message for the economy. It’s a people-centric move too.
The Covid-hit world has changed everything. Millennials are seeking superior work-life balance; they are gravitating towards WFH (work from home) lifestyles; they are serious about parenting and leisure; fitness and well-being are shaping their lives and homes. Woke and mindful, they seek life with a meaning and work with a purpose. These are manifestations of tomorrow’s society. The family is rethinking itself.
An extended weekend tilts the work-life balance towards life. This newspaper believes in engaging with readers with stories that go beyond breaking news. These are stories that address larger millennial concerns: climate change, sustainable lifestyle, philanthropy, compassionate capitalism, environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG).
Sustainability begins at home with a work-life balance. It’s that balance that sets that goals for holistic living. In moving to a qualitative weekend, where both productivity and positivity are likely to rise, the UAE has driven home a simple point: People First. This was the great goal for the next 50. It’s already happening.