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UAE is warming to its new Monday to Friday working week


Staff on a footbridge in Dubai on Feb. 14, 2018.

Karim Sahib | AAFP | Getty Pictures

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Greater than two months because the United Arab Emirates switched to a Monday to Friday working week to be extra aligned with worldwide enterprise companions, each the nation’s natives and its big inhabitants of expats are nonetheless getting used to the change, though most say it was a a lot wanted shift.

The nation’s longstanding Sunday to Thursday work week was formally dropped on Jan. 1. Authorities workers now work from Monday to Thursday with a versatile half day on Friday, which has lengthy been a sacred day for worshippers of Islam. Friday sermons and prayers, beforehand held at midday, at the moment are held after 1:15 p.m.

Colleges have mirrored this shift and though no particular directions got to the non-public sector, many instantly adopted go well with.

There had been murmurings among the many UAE’s enterprise circles for years that the change was coming, and it was considered by most as inevitable due to globalization. And but, when the information broke abruptly in early December, it brought about a ripple of shock.

Worldwide alignment

Total, the brand new UAE work week has been welcomed — with perceived deserves starting from elevated ease of doing enterprise to common life-style enchancment.

For British expat Dan Fahy, managing director of Dubai government search agency NSI Expertise, getting Sundays again as a part of the weekend was excellent news all spherical.

“It has been improbable for me as I am now aligned with all of the geographies I cowl and really feel like I’ve 5 stable days of labor reasonably than a half-baked Sunday and continually checking my cellphone on a Friday,” he advised CNBC.

He added: “I really feel like I can absolutely swap off on a weekend and it is nice for watching sports activities and having fun with a standard Sunday roast.”

At Dubai’s prestigious Moorfields Eye Hospital — a Center East arm of the well-known London eyecare clinic — the change has meant being allowed to open seven days per week.

“As a well being care supplier, we perceive the significance of being accessible to the general public and the brand new legislation has allowed us to make adjustments that convey extra comfort to each native and worldwide sufferers,” Elhadi Hassan, chief finial officer and managing director at Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai, UAE advised CNBC. 

Speaking with worldwide contacts extra successfully has been the primary upside seen by companies as a result of schedules at the moment are extra in sync.

Laura Manning, the founder and CEO of the BRW Society — a web-based unfastened leaf tea vendor within the UAE — advised CNBC it has allowed her crew to take pleasure in a greater work-life stability. 

“Prior to now, we have needed to bounce onto calls on a Friday which ate into the weekend. However now we end what we have to on a Friday morning. The transfer helps the crew strengthen relationships with suppliers and clients world wide with out shedding treasured free time.”

Scheduling hiccups

However the enthusiastic reception of this variation does not imply it hasn’t introduced a couple of company complications, as Annie Meikle, director at Dubai media company The Social Store, advised CNBC.

“There have been one or two scheduling blips as we received our heads round a Monday reasonably than a Sunday begin — resembling establishing conferences on a Sunday unintentionally or forgetting that Friday is a workday, that type of factor … However there have been a couple of laughs due to this.”

She added: “However as we regularly cope with world contacts, we are able to now work extra simply with different markets such because the U.Okay. and North America, which is an actual bonus.”

For Dubai’s economically essential hospitality sector, the transition has been comparatively seamless, though there have been preliminary angst-ridden feedback on-line about what would occur to the legendary Friday brunch — a eye-popping all-you-can-eat-and-drink affair that the large UAE motels supply.

To the aid of many, brunch remains to be on the menu — it has merely moved to Saturday,

“From a enterprise perspective the transition has been comparatively seamless, though it did take a few weeks for meals and beverage operations to regulate to issues like a Saturday brunch,” Marcus Sutton, common supervisor at upscale resort Zabeel Home by Jumeirah, The Greens, advised CNBC.

He added: “With Fridays additionally being a half day for a lot of places of work, and particularly for the colleges, we have now seen an upward development in early afternoon enterprise in our retailers on Friday which has helped create a protracted weekend profit for the enterprise.”

“From a rooms perspective, the change has additionally seen the creation of weekend demand over a 3 day interval as a substitute of the 2 — given the distinction now in weekend days between the UAE and surrounding GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] nations.”

“Total, the change has been a constructive one and appreciated inside the hospitality sector,” he added.