UAE switching to a 4.5-day week to ‘increase productivity & promote work-life balance’

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To “enhance productivity and improve work-life balance,” the UAE government announced that federal employees would work a four-and-a-half-day work week on Tuesday.

According to the administration, beginning January 1, 2022, the weekend will begin at 12 p.m. local time on Friday and end Sunday night. This weekend runs from Thursday evening till Saturday evening. According to the UAE Media Office, the decision will result in “longer weekends to encourage productivity and improved work-life balance,” according to the UAE Media Office.

As per the government, the hours are 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Friday. It remains to be seen whether private businesses would follow suit in this new workweek.

Several Muslim-majority countries, such as Saudi Arabia, adopt a Sunday-through-Thursday week to accommodate Friday prayers.

The administration states, the new weekend agreement will help the UAE align with other global trade heavyweights. According to a statement, the government would “ensure smooth financial, trade, and economic activities with countries that follow a Saturday-Sunday weekend, boosting deeper international business relations and opportunities for thousands of UAE-based and global firms.”

According to some academics and business executives, a shorter workweek can improve employee productivity and quality of life. Only a few organisations, such as Atom Bank in the United Kingdom, have adopted four-day workweeks, and few countries have followed suit.

In Iceland, Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Japan, New Zealand, and Sweden, pilot four-day workweek plans have been launched, with trials in New Zealand, Iceland, and Japan demonstrating that employee well-being and productivity improved under the new conditions.

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