It was announced last week that the UAE would be making some major changes to the country’s existing workweek.

One of the big changes is that the government and education sectors in Sharjah would be transitioning from a 5 day week to a 4 day week, whilst the rest of the UAE would be transitioning to a 4 and a half day week, the first country in the world to do so. The second major change would be the realigning of the UAE work week with that of other countries worldwide, with a transition from Sunday to Thursday, to Monday to Friday, the first country in the Gulf region to line up the work week with the rest of the world. 

This change came about in order to align the UAE with international markets and ensure its status on the global economic map. The new work week will enable greater ease in regard to financial and trade transactions with countries around the world that follow the more popular Monday to Thursday workweek. In doing so, it will consolidate and strengthen both existing and new relationships with international businesses, which in turn will allow business within the country to further flourish. 

The banking sector will be one sector in particular that will benefit massively. Until now, companies would have to get all communications and work completed on Thursday and then have to wait until Monday until communications could resume. The new change will allow the financial industries to collaborate and work closely together with real-time trading and communications with international markets. As such, these new changes align with the UAE’s overall vision of encouraging the country’s economic growth as well as strengthening ties with international trading partners. 

Whilst this new resolution by the government to change to a Monday to Friday workweek will surely benefit the country massively, perhaps the most interesting change is the transition to a shorter week. As of now, it is only government and educational institutions that will be shortening their week, although the new change may encourage companies in the private sector to do the same. It will also be interesting to see if the rest of the country will follow Sharjah’s lead, shortening the week further and implementing a 4 day week as well. One question that many of these companies may be asking, is what are the benefits of having a short week.

So what are the benefits of a 4 day week?  

Studies have shown that a four day week benefits both employers and employees.
There are many key benefits that can be gained from companies taking on a 4 day work week. For one, it will decrease general operating costs of the office, as the work week will be shorter. It will also reduce worker burnout, and allow for improved employee morale and retention. The desirability of a shorter workweek will also allow for a larger applicant pool for open positions, which will mean companies will be able to afford better talent. 

To start with, shorter workweeks have been demonstrated to allow employees to have a better, healthier work-life balance which improves productivity throughout the workforce. 

Whilst it might seem counterintuitive that decreased working hours actually increases productivity, there is solid reasoning behind it. For a start, shorter working weeks decrease worker burnout, allowing employees to refresh and renew their energy properly before the start of each week. 

In moving towards a shorter workweek, it also necessitates a different mindset and approach in how we look at work. Rather than focusing on the number of hours worked, the focus is shifted towards a results-oriented approach. This type of mindset will enable workers to be more efficient with their time, overall increasing the productivity of the workforce. 

With that being said, the 4-day workforce that was introduced is a lot more than about increasing productivity. It is about ensuring happier employees, who have a better work-life balance. In having longer weekends, workers can spend more time with their friends and families, work on personal development, as well as have more time for themselves in general. 

This focus on employee well being by the UAE government will only increase the country’s desirability to live and work, allowing it to retain and gain talent within the workforce from around the world. As the UAE becomes an increasingly attractive destination for families to live and work, it will stimulate the economy and produce more business. 

These unprecedented developments to the country are in no doubt a reflection of the country’s aim of encouraging a thriving economy, whilst ensuring a good quality of life and healthy work-life balance for all of the people living within the country. These strides will surely encourage more people to consider moving to the country, as well as attract global businesses to conduct new business. To stay updated on any changes in Dubai’s business environment, make sure to subscribe to our emailing list.