New UAE workweek: Young adults most affected by policy shift, says survey

Despite the challenges, 61 per cent of residents say they are happy with the change


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Fri 11 Feb 2022, 3:05 PM

Last updated: Fri 11 Feb 2022, 10:40 PM

Young adults are struggling to adapt to the UAE's new workweek, according to a recent survey.

From January 1, Saturday and Sunday formed the new weekend in the country, aligning it with global markets. Some employees enjoy a shorter workweek, with Friday being a half-day.

The survey by YouGov, an international research and analytics organisation, has revealed how the change affected people across various age groups. A higher proportion of young adults (76 per cent), aged between 18 and 24, claimed to be more affected by the change than older adults between the ages of 35 and 44 (59 per cent) and those over 45 (49 per cent).

A majority (79 per cent) say their organisations have switched to the new workweek policy. Within this, 47 per cent say their companies have adopted the shorter workweek, while the remaining 53 per cent are following a five-day workweek from Monday to Friday.

When asked about the challenges faced due to the transition, almost a third (31 per cent) of the working respondents expressed difficulty in readjusting to their weekend leisure schedules. A similar percentage (30 per cent) said they experienced heavy traffic on Fridays.

Other issues that people in the UAE currently face, or are likely to face in the future, are difficulty in adjusting to the new workweek (29 per cent), trouble planning holidays (26 per cent) and less family time (24 per cent) due to differing workweeks.

The data also shows that young adults, between the ages of 18 and 24, seem to be experiencing the aforementioned challenges more so than other age groups.

However, despite the challenges, a majority (61 per cent) of UAE residents said that they were happy with the new workweek policy, with those aged between 35 to 44 appearing happier than others (67 per cent).

When asked about the benefits of the new workweek policy, almost half (48 per cent) of the respondents said that shorter workweeks led to better work-life balance, which increased their productivity. Despite claiming to be most impacted by the transition, more than half (54 per cent) of the 18–24 group recognised this as an advantage.

Nearly half of all respondents (47 per cent) agreed that the new policy would boost the economy, as it would eliminate the weekend gap, allowing the UAE to attract more foreign talent and investments.


At a personal level, two in five (42 per cent) see the change as an opportunity to better align their schedules with their international colleagues, while almost the same number (43 per cent) say that it would now be easier for them to plan holidays with friends and/or family staying abroad.

This data was collected online, between January 26 and January 31, from 1,026 respondents in the UAE.

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