UAE: 88% of firms believe that employees should be allowed to request flexible working hours

New study reveals upcoming 'smart working' trends for the next year, including hybrid and sustainable office

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A Staff Reporter

Published: Tue 11 Oct 2022, 3:41 PM

A new study has revealed the top working trends that will emerge in the UAE and in Saudi Arabia in 2023.

1. Smart cities

The smart cities will boost smart working, according to the study by Poly. Smart or hybrid working is popular among both employers and employees as it is said to increase productivity.

Almost 70 per cent of firms in the UAE believe that failing to address their hybrid work procedures and strategies will result in employee turnover and an inability to recruit new talent.

The world is seeing more smart cities come into being. The linear city Neom in Saudi Arabia is a prime example, and has been proposed with the objective of facilitating a perfect work-life balance for its residents.

The same trend is prevailing in the UAE. Arising from the Emirati government's vision, one of the most important priorities is to establish a sustainable environment and infrastructure that achieves the goals of the future.

The first smart city to be launched in the UAE dates back to a decade ago. Masdar City is the first smart and sustainable city in the region. This progressive city benefits from a blend of advanced technologies and methods from the architecture of the city to the utilization of solar energy to depend on sustainable and renewable resources.

The world is entering an era of smart living where smart working will become non-negotiable. This requires smart working methods and tools to empower this change.

2. Smart working

Smart working has put the power in the employees’ hands, and autonomous decision-making is on the rise as more people are adopting hybrid working patterns. On the other hand, the lack of sufficient resources for hybrid work, such as technology, policies, and manager training, ultimately disempowers employees.

Companies should provide employees not only with flexibility in working conditions but also armour them with the technology and communicate how to utilize the technology to their advantage. Technology should equalise hybrid working experience no matter where the job is done from, rather than causing overwork and burnout.

3. Automation

In the UAE, the government announced in October 2021 the plan to harness the technology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The purpose of this plan, The Projects of the 50, is to raise productivity and deliver more innovative products using automated systems during the coming fifty years in an initiative that is unprecedented in the region.

These automated systems that will be managing functions in several factories would enable employees to have more flexibility in their working hours and pattern. According to the new Poly study, Recruit, Retain and Grow, 88 per cent of UAE companies believe that employees should be allowed to request flexible working hours from day one. Furthermore, over half (56 per cent) of all organisations, and 69 per cent of UAE-based organisations believe that if they don’t address their hybrid work processes and plans, they’ll start to lose staff and be unable to attract new talent.

As Saudi Arabia works to establish several smart cities, there is a tendency within the Kingdom toward factory automation. The main objective is to benefit from AI technologies and smart innovations, reduce costs, and raise efficiency.

In the near future, around 4,000 factories all over the Kingdom will be largely dependent on automated machines and smart technologies. This is part of the recently launched ‘The Future Factories Program', initiated by the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources.

The Saudi government aims to utilize the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) to achieve considerable progress in its production sector, through the blend of various innovative technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, robots, 3D printing, and the internet of things to establish a strong economy based on the latest technologies and innovations.

The three new trends in Saudi Arabia and the UAE reflect the future vision of the country to have a progressive lifestyle from all aspects. The transformation towards relying on cutting-edge technologies has become crucial for the advancement of any country. However, the provision of the required tools and devices plays a significant role in this regard.


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