Last Friday of 2021: UAE residents welcome new weekend, say they will adjust 'in no time'

Employees are looking forward to the change, as they say it will help them become more productive and strengthen work-life balance

By SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Thu 30 Dec 2021, 4:56 PM

Last updated: Thu 30 Dec 2021, 10:02 PM

UAE residents are marking the last Friday of 2021 with optimism for the new weekend.

From January 2022, the UAE will transition to a Saturday-Sunday weekend model, with Friday forming a half-day for some.

Private sector employees are looking forward to the change, as they say it will help them become more productive and strengthen work-life balance.

Omar Tuqan, a Palestinian expat living in the UAE, said he is planning to ring in the weekend with an increased focus on time management. "Since it has been changed into an earlier working duty, my personal appointments will be arranged so it doesn't affect my new working hours," he said.

For Austrian expat Valerie Herring-Frankensdorf, associate at Kekst CNC, the weekend may not necessarily change because it will depend on her clients' schedule.

"Should we work more with UAE-based clients, then we will change our weekend to Saturday and Sunday," she said. "Should we work with more Saudi clients, then we will keep our weekends as Fridays and Saturdays."

In case of the latter, Herring-Frankensdorf said employees would be granted a two-hour break to attend Friday prayers and sermons.

Some companies will only have one day off on Saturday instead of Friday.

Ragheed Al Tahhan, co-founder of Top Concept Engineering Consultancy, said: “We will have half-day work on Friday, and Saturday will be our day off starting from next year. It will not change our plans that much because we already had one day off on Friday and a half-day on Thursdays, so we only shifted the days forward, ”

Those who work at firms that have adopted the new weekend are delighted about the change. Anna Palaspas, a social media coordinator, says the new change will allow her carry out her religious duties.

“With the new weekend in line, Saturday will be the new Friday and 'family day', and we'll be spending our Sunday at church,” she said.

Increased productivity, positivity

Employees are in agreement that they will adjust to the weekend in no time.

"When it comes to my personal life, I am hoping that most of my weekends will coincide with those of my friends," said Herring-Frankensdorf.

Tuqan said the new working hours will help him accomplish his tasks earlier and leave more time to tend to personal activities. Employees have also said that they will be able to spend quality time with their children and focus on supporting them.


"Four-and-a-half operating days will give more balance to employees and school children and they will probably work more efficiently with a fresh mindset," Al Tahhan said. “Having a two-and half-day weekend is almost as good as a long weekend. It gives more time to rest and recover from a workweek that may have been so busy and stressful."

Herring-Frankensdorf stressed that employees' health and well-being is paramount.

"In general, everyone should get a two-day weekend, whether this is Friday and Saturday or Saturday and Sunday,” she said.

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