In a bold move aimed at boosting the UAE’s post-pandemic economy, the government announced a new four-and-a-half day workweek starting January 2022. Many organizations followed suit and switched their workweek in line with the public sector, with some opting for a four-day workweek.
This isn’t the first time the UAE has changed its weekend, having adopted Friday as a weekly holiday in 1971 and adding Thursday to make it a two-day weekend in 1999. In 2006, the weekend was changed to Friday and Saturday.
Employees in the UAE have reported improved work-life balance and higher productivity since the switch to the UAE 4 day week, with attendance also noted to have improved by employers. Studies have also shown benefits for certain sectors such as customer service, hospitality, retail, e-commerce, delivery services, and tourism.
A recent study by the SEC reviewed the impact of the new workweek and the results were overwhelmingly positive. The study showed an increase in productivity in 88% of government entities, a 81% increase in positive communication between employees, a 74% increase in attendance, and a 46% decrease in the rate of sick leave taken by employees.
From the employee perspective, the study found a 90% increase in job satisfaction, a 90% improvement in job performance, and a 91% increase in overall happiness after implementing the new system.
The move to a shorter workweek has been deemed a success and is further proof of the UAE‘s commitment to promoting a better work-life balance for its citizens and boosting its economy. Although these findings are only from one month of a shorter working week, these findings may inspire other countries in the Middle East to adopt the UAE 4 day week as it proves that employees can be more productive in a shorter work week, as there is more time to recharge and less burnout.