86% of UAE employees want to continue remote work after pandemic

Professions highly satisfied with flexibility, efficiency of 'new norm'

  
Young woman entrepreneur working from home. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Young woman entrepreneur working from home. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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The majority of employees working in the UAE want to be able to keep working remotely even after the coronavirus pandemic ends, a new report showed. 

Among the respondents polled in a new study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Bayt.com, about nine in ten (86 percent) said they would like to work completely virtually or see remote and on-site working come together. 

The percentage of UAE workers favouring remote work is at par with the global average of 89 percent. 

The findings indicate that most employees are highly satisfied with the flexibility and efficiency that remote working offers them, said BCG and Bayt.com’s joint report, “Decoding Global Ways of Working.” 

“The fact that the vast majority of respondents have indicated their wishes for remote working to remain to some degree illustrates their high satisfaction with the newfound flexibility and efficiency,” said Dr. Christopher Daniel, managing director and partner at BCG Middle East. 

Massive shift 

Last year, companies worldwide sent millions of workers home in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.  

What was not known then, Daniel said, was how successful remote working would be and how well employees would adjust and become acquainted with the new norm. 

“However, this is now much [clearer] following our survey with Bayt.com… Across the UAE, workforces want the flexibility associated with remote working to remain in place,” he said. 

As economies started to re-open after the lockdown last year, some employers asked their staff to return to their work site. This was particularly true in the case of companies in the services category, as well as industrial and retail sectors. 

Sustained positive outcomes 

In the UAE, less than half (43 percent) of the respondents said they are now working in some form of remote arrangement compared to the 51 percent worldwide. 

According to Daniel, the strong preference towards remote work is due to the “sustained positive outcomes” that people get from flexible work arrangements. 

“From a UAE standpoint, the pandemic has, for the most part, actually had a positive impact on work practices and processes,” Daniel said. 

“Contrary to other results worldwide, the respondents did not experience any major difficulties with regard to their well-being and the vast majority embraced virtual environments. Hence, many are open to recent changes to becoming permanent.” 

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria) 

Cleofe.maceda@refinitiv.com 

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