Dubai to allow some employees to work from public libraries, says top official

The goal is to enhance individuals' well-being by allowing them to work closer to their homes, within an 'enlightening' environment


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Wed 15 Mar 2023, 1:14 PM

Last updated: Thu 16 Mar 2023, 9:33 AM

Starting March 16, some employees in Dubai will be allowed to work remotely — specifically from the emirate's public libraries, a top government official revealed on Wednesday.

Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work, told Khaleej Times that they are launching this initiative for the Dubai Government's employees, giving them the flexibility to work from libraries.

"With the public libraries close to people’s homes, this will allow [the staff] to actually work closer to their residences, and also within an environment that is truly enlightening and inspiring," Al Olama said on the sidelines of the 'Remote' forum held on Tuesday.

"We are going to look at new tools, new systems and new pedagogy to actually manage this," he added.

The goal, the minister said, is to enhance individuals' well-being.

"Just think about it this way: Today, we go to the office and there are certain standards that are applied like having a proper desk, keyboards or chairs that ensure that people do not get health issues or health problems. If you're working from your bed, for example, at home or in an environment sitting on the sofa, and slouching down, this will create a burden rather than an advantage for the government to spend more on health insurance."

When asked if the new initiative could be available to private sector employees, Al Olama said: "So, we need to make sure that the standards that we put in place eliminate such issues. We lead by example, but we will not force the private sector to do anything that will impact their profits.”

What experts think

Improved efficiency

Nadeem Ahmed, HR manager, Hidayath Group

Hybrid work model offers a win-win situation to both employees and organisations in terms of flexibility, work-life balance and improved work efficiency and productivity. Companies are eyeing sustainability and profitability. Lowering operational expenses is a sure benefit to organisations.

Sense of ownership

Reena Saagar, Head of People,

I definitely believe that flexible/hybrid working model is here to stay and is highly effective in increasing colleagues’ morale. It gives a sense of ownership and respect to employees. They know they have the flexibility to choose what works for them and they are trusted. We have teams based across five locations and we trust our employees to deliver what is expected of them.

Win-win scenario

Joy S. Distor, senior HR executive, Bin Hamoodah Auto

It’s definitely a win-win scenario. For employees, they will have flexibility in managing tasks. This flexibility encourages employee happiness as well as taking care of oneself and their family. For employers, it means lower capital expenditures. Employees offered the opportunity to have hybrid work, however, are not excluded from the job performance measurement procedure.

Work-life balance

Aws Ismail, GM, Marc Ellis, recruitment specialists

Working in the recruitment industry, I can say many have reported that the model has boosted morale and provided their employees with higher job satisfaction; which in turn, has improved the quality of their work and productivity. The hybrid model has gained momentum for several years now with many companies adopting this to give extra flexibility to their employees and improve their work-life balance.

Clear guidelines

Fara Siddiqi, group chief HR officer, Aster DM Healthcare

To ensure the success of a hybrid work model, it is essential to establish clear guidelines, policies, and communication channels. HR officers should work closely with managers and employees to develop a flexible work plan that meets the needs of both parties. This may include setting expectations for communication and collaboration, providing the necessary technology and equipment, and monitoring performance and output.


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