The new UAE weekend is likely to have a positive impact on residents' well-being, doctors and psychologists have said.
Thanks to the change, employees will be able to spend more time with their families and pursue their hobbies.
Dr Adil Sajwani, family medicine specialist at Fakeeh University Hospital, said: "It can encourage parents to take care of their children and have a weekend trip or short travel and gives more work-life balance."
Starting January 1, 2022, the country will transition into a four-and-a-half day workweek, with Saturday, Sunday and Friday half-day forming the new weekend.
Dr Lakshmi Saranya, clinical psychologist at Modern Family Clinic, explained how longer weekends will boost family ties and social lives in the UAE.
"Firstly, you can leave your worries behind and focus on spending quality time with your loved ones by understanding each other in the family," she said. "Interacting with others boosts feelings of well-being and decreases feelings of depression. Research has shown that one sure way of improving your mood is to work on building social connections."
Doctors urged residents to make the most of the long weekend and incorporate physical exercise into their routine.
"Working four-and-a-half days means you still have enough time for yourself to exercise and take good care of yourself," Dr Sajwani said.
He further noted that countries with high work-life balance are happier as a society, which helps boost the economy.
"In the UAE, we are moving from the oil-based economy and aiming to be independent in the next 50 years. This can be done through small and medium enterprises and with longer weekends," Dr Sajwani said.
The society's youth, too, will be free to pursue their creative opportunities and start new businesses.
"Working on Friday will add an economic factor because the rest of the world and trading are open on that day," Dr Sajwani said.
Dr Saranya added that long weekends can build a healthier, more productive society by providing the following benefits:
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