UAE: Forum to focus on 4-day workweek, how it achieves work-life balance with data

The Sharjah Outlook Forum will kick off next year, and see the participation of representatives of local, federal entities



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Supplied photo

By Web Desk

Published: Mon 5 Dec 2022, 12:19 PM

Last updated: Mon 5 Dec 2022, 12:53 PM

A new forum to analyse the 4-day workweek initiative in Sharjah has been announced. The Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB) and the Department of Statistics and Community Development (DSCD) will launch the region’s first-of-its-kind 'Sharjah Outlook Forum' on February 1, 2023.

This forum will be an annual event. Each year, representatives from local and federal entities will discuss a new central initiative. They will be joined by experts with international experience which will help the needs of the emirate's residents.

The inaugural edition will kick-off under the theme, '4X3 Indicators and Prospects', and will discuss Sharjah's pioneering 4-day workweek mandate with a 3-day weekend, the world’s first-of-its-kind system in terms of its scope and impact. The new workweek system offers public sector employees, including education and healthcare institutions as well as all government entities, a three day weekend. The four-day work week system had only been previously adopted on an experimental or trial basis in specific sectors and was not approved and adopted officially.

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The announcement was made during a meeting held at the DSCD headquarters in the presence of Sheikh Mohammed bin Humaid Al Qasimi, Chairman of DSCD; Sheikh Sultan bin Abdullah bin Salem Al Qasimi, Director, DSCD; Tariq Saeed Allay, SGMB Director General, Alya Al Suwaidi, SGMB Director, to address the impact of the new work week system on the quality of life of residents and the productivity of human resources, in addition to reinforcing the emirate's appeal for living, working and investment.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Humaid Al Qasimi, Chairman of the SCTDA, underscored that the forum translates the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, on the relationship between development and the human being - who is described by the Ruler of Sharjah as the essence, purpose and maker of development.

The forum also exemplifies the emirate's keenness to engage all community members in ensuring the success of its developmental project, the chairman added.

“Although this experience is promising," he said, speaking of the new initiative, "it is essential to discuss it subjectively, transparently, and scientifically, in order for us to develop and build on our experiences and progress forward."

Annual evaluation and assessment platform

For his part, Tariq Saeed Allay, Director General of SGMB, said: “The form will be an important annual evaluation and assessment platform that convenes a host of decision-makers and high-ranking officials in public and semi-government sectors to discuss and deliberate a specific experience through exploring its results and impact as well as its development and amendment mechanism. The forum will also enable us to compare our experiences with those of other societies to maintain Sharjah’s position as an incubator of society, families and individuals alike, along with being a champion of culture and inclusive development.”

“Countries that experimented with the four work week system trials in some sectors were looking for mechanisms that strike a balance between the quality of life on the one hand, and improving productivity, reducing costs and resource consumption, and stimulating creative economy on the other hand. Since each experience has positive and negative aspects, the forum will host a number of experts and representatives of key global experiences to share the means through which they successfully bridged the gap and shortcoming of their experiences, particularly in terms of the projected impact on some sectors,” he added.

Increase in productivity and prosperity

On the forum’s projected output and results, the Director General of SGMB remarked that the milestone developments the world has been seeing over the past two decades, including AI, digitisation, transformation into modern work and life styles, are time-effective and can increase production without compromising people’s daily lives and needs. He added that the expected output of the Sharjah Outlook Forum will comprise how to harness technology in ensuring successful experiences and supporting communities’ quest for more prosperity. It will assess the experiences of Sharjah and other cities utilising scientific methods and data to enable policy-makers take evidence-based decisions.


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