Happy news for the employees in the UAE: Why the Emirates has changed its working week?

In what has become a major overhaul in its working style, the United Arab Emirates has poured relishing news for its employees by changing the working week and reducing the total work time. The UAE and other countries in the Gulf belt have a culture of five days working in a week from Sunday to Thursday while Friday and Saturday will be considered as a weekend. However, the UAE has now broken this culture and has taken its brand new working system close to the western countries. 

The UAE, one of the richest countries in the world, has on Tuesday announced to change its existing five-day workweek policy to a four-and-a-half day starting January 1, 2022. According to the new work schedule, the work timings from Monday to Thursday would be from 7.30 am to 3.30 pm, and on Friday, it would be from 7.30 am to 12.00 pm. Besides changing the workweek, it has decreased the work timings from five to four-and-a-half days. The UAE Government Media Office has said that Saturdays and Sundays are full-day holidays under the new rule. 

It has been reported that the UAE has become the world's first country to make the employee-friendly transition by reducing the work timings. Why the Emirates has changed its workweek? It believes that it will boost productivity and improve work-life balance. In a statement, the government said, "Longer weekends to boost productivity and improve work-life balance, starting from 1st January 2022." Following the announcement, the government has said all Friday sermons (religious events) and prayers would be held after 1.15 pm going forward. 

It also has said that the employees would be offered flexible working hours and work-from-home options on Friday from next year. The new working policy is expected to take the country close to the working culture of the US, the UK, and Europe, which will boost commerce. The government has said that the new system will first be implemented in all federal government entities followed by the schools, colleges, and private institutions. On the other hand, the new working policy is not completely new for the UAE as the Emirati governments of Dubai and Abu Dhabi have already announced this policy. 

The country also believes that the extended weekend would improve social wellbeing and increase performance to advance the country's economic competitiveness. The media office said that the new workweek will ensure smooth financial, trade, and economic transactions with countries that follow a Saturday/Sunday weekend, facilitating stronger international business links and opportunities for thousands of UAE-based and multinational firms. 

Several people and the media agencies in the country have welcomed the new workweek and noted that besides boosting commerce, it will also enhance lifestyle and its security and flexibility for the UAE citizens and residents. The Khaleej Times had reported that from an economic perspective, the new working week will better align the Emirates with global markets, reflecting the country's strategic status on the global economic map.