Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus: What are working mums concerned about as Dubai offices return to 100% Filed on June 7, 2020 | Last updated on June 29, 2020 at 05.27 pm
Coronavirus, Covid19, working mums, concerned, Dubai offices, return, 100%

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In the time of Covid-19, many parents have had to take on the additional role of helping kids achieve their e-learning goals in recent months.

The news that private companies in Dubai could return to 100 per cent capacity was welcomed by many - but it has also raised concerns among working mothers who are worried about leaving children at home, unsupervised.

In the time of Covid-19, many parents have had to take on the additional role of helping kids achieve their e-learning goals in recent months.

Mum-of-two Athessa Descat says recent weeks have not been easy at all, what with managing the home, the kids' e-learning sessions and assignments, as well as her own work as a consultant.

"I've communicated to my boss that with the present situation and schools not opening before September, I would not be able to work a full day outside the home," said the French expat, whose daughters are aged 14 and nine.

"My younger daughter especially needs supervision during classes, so that she's not watching YouTube on the side instead of listening to the teacher. I'm concerned that without an adult at hand, the girls may fail to stay on top of lessons."

Gifta Elsa John, who has a six-year-old, said: "The schools are doing their best to make it less tedious for the parents, but there's still a lot of overseeing that teachers used to do that we now need to take care of."

A customer support engineer, she felt hiring help at home was not an option due to social distancing concerns.

Although she has been going to work, her husband is currently working from home. "His office hasn't opened yet, but I don't know what we'll do once that happens."

What's more, these concerns will only increase once schools close for the summer, she added.

"In the past, we would take our daughter to camps or day-care or even send her to India to be with her grandparents. All those alternatives are a question mark in the current situation."

'Organisations should take lead'

As the city makes the slow transition back to work, its thought leaders expressed the hope that organisations would take the lead in offering working mums the flexibility they need to cope.

Executive coach at Kompass Consultancy Leila Rezaiguia said one of the first things companies needed to do right now is review their work policies.

"I'd also invite employers to prioritise what percentage of their workforce needs to return at the moment," she said.

"Working mums have a real concern of who's going to look after the kids. So, unless absolutely critical, they should be exempt."

Louise Karim, managing director for Women@Work, suggested that policies be expanded to give fathers the flexibility to work from home, too. This would help women negotiate part-time office hours with their employers in homes where both spouses are working.

"I hope this situation will have a positive effect on people's understanding that remote working does work," said Louise, who has extended the work-from-home option to her own employees.

Katy Rice, founder of online family concept store Eco Souk, echoed similar sentiments. "The past few months have proven that productivity needn't be a concern for those businesses that favour an 'in office' approach to their staff," she said. 



Karen Ann Monsy

A ‘Dubai child’, Karen has been writing for magazines for close to a decade. She covers trends, community, social issues and human interest features. Whether it’s overcoming disability, breaking stereotypes or simply relating the triumphs of everyday lives, she seeks out those stories that can uplift, encourage and inspire. You can find her favourite work at

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