Monday is the new Sunday: How employees embraced the new UAE workweek

Officer-goers across the country says the new schedule brings the feeling of a fresh start



Photo: File
Photo: File
by

Sherouk Zakaria

Published: Mon 3 Jan 2022, 3:32 PM

Last updated: Tue 4 Jan 2022, 8:20 AM

As the new Covid-19 variant casts a gloom worldwide, employees across the UAE are starting 2022 on a historical note: a new workweek.

Monday, January 3, 2022, was the first working day in the UAE government and majority of the private firms that transitioned into a Saturday-Sunday weekend.

Although still adapting to the system after the New Year's holidays, employees across the country said the new workweek brings the feeling of a fresh start, setting the pace for further productivity and change following a year of groundbreaking achievements in the UAE.

The same sentiment prevailed among employees in private firms that reintroduced remote work amid the recent surge of Covid-19 cases. Although the government is adopting a 4.5-day workweek, the majority of the private sector retains the five-day week with only a weekend shift.

Marwan Gamaleldin
Marwan Gamaleldin

Working in the government sector, Marwan Gamaleldin, Financial Accountant at Abu Dhabi National Hotels, said the 4.5-day workweek promises increased productivity and better work results given the alignment with global markets.

"We are confident that we will see the positive impact of the new system taking effect within the first week of work. I'm looking forward to having half-day off on Friday and witnessing how it will impact my wellbeing and work performance."

ALSO READ:

Gamaleldin added that the new working week system demonstrates the UAE's flexibility and readiness to deal with the world's changes, especially evident in light of the resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Arfa Shahid
Arfa Shahid

Arfa Shahid, Associate at Rouya Consultancy, said, "Once again, it seems that we are starting the new year with a new variant of COVID-19 that presents challenges - albeit ones that we are now more prepared for than the past two years."

Her employer adopted a 4-day work-from-home week, which, Shahid said, proved to increase productivity while maintaining a work-life balance.

"With the new 4-day workweek, I feel I am better prepared with increased focus to tackle on the tasks of the week, while having the luxury of a 3-day weekend to rest, recharge and work on my side hustles, hobbies, etc. There is a longer working day (by one hour) to hit the minimum working hour target, and I'm curious to see how it pans out," Shahid said.

Yomna Garada
Yomna Garada

Yomna Garada, Senior Consultant at WSP Global, said for the first time, she did not feel the Sunday blues. Her employer adopted a hybrid work model where employees can choose to work on Fridays or Sundays.

"For the first time, I had tense-free Sunday working from home. Flexible work models allow employees to adjust their work schedule to improve their performance and the UAE's new working week gave the platform for employers to achieve this," said Garada.

She added that the working week reflects the country's forward-looking vision in ushering into a new phase that aligns with the ever-changing workplace.

Saeed Klaib
Saeed Klaib

Working in a private consultancy firm that adopted a Saturday-Sunday weekend, Saeed Klaib said the new working week would help him connect better with his family back home. "As a Lebanese, I was happy to see the weekend in UAE changing to match the weekend in Lebanon as it will give me more time to connect with my friends and family. I will also be enjoying my weekend doing my things simultaneously."

He noted that adjusting to the new working week will take time. "We will have to arrange our weekly routines as per the new working time," said Klaib.

Nourhan Maher
Nourhan Maher

Nourhan Maher, Researcher in a Dubai-based university, said the new working week gives a fresh start to the year and a complete readjustment to personal and professional routines.

She added that the work system would help her join various online global events in academia, poetry and art.

"With friends in academia across different parts of the world, the new working week will help me reconnect with them and organize online events at times that fit both time zones," said Maher.

She noted that the workweek provides an ideal opportunity to plan new hobbies around the new schedule with new year's resolutions.

sherouk@khaleejtimes.com


More news from UAE