UAE becomes first country to officially adopt shorter workweek
The government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced that it will be upgrading to a 4.5-day work week.
Starting in the new year, the UAE will impose new working hours on all federal government entities, with working days Monday through Thursday now starting at 7:30 a.m. and ending at 3:30 p.m., and working hours on Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. : 00 pm, according to state news agency WAM.
“The United Arab Emirates is the first country in the world to introduce a national work week shorter than the global five-day week,” WAM reports.
This marks a major departure from the traditional Friday-Saturday weekend seen in the Arab world, with Friday being considered the holiest day of the week in Islamic tradition. Friday sermons and prayers will be held across the UAE at 1:15 p.m., while government staff will have the option to arrange to work from home on Friday or to clock in on a flexible schedule.
There is also good news for children. Dubai-based newspaper Khaleej weather reported that schools and universities are also expected to follow the new work week, with all classes ending Friday at noon.
The United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven independent city-states along the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, including Abu Dhabi and Dubai, mainly cited the economic benefits of the shift, arguing that it would help align the country with the broader non-compliance. Arab world, supporting international trade and encouraging tourism.
“From an economic perspective, the new working week will better align the UAE with global markets, reflecting the country’s strategic status on the global economic map. This will ensure smooth financial, trade and economic transactions with countries following a Saturday / Sunday weekend, thus facilitating stronger international trade ties and opportunities for thousands of multinational and UAE-based companies, ”continued the WAM report.
However, they also recognize that the move “will improve work-life balance and improve social well-being.”
There is good evidence to support the idea of a shorter work week. In 2019, Microsoft Japan tested a four-day week for a month and saw a 40 percent productivity leap. More recently, earlier this year, a social experiment in Iceland investigated the pros and cons of working a four-day week. It turned out to be a overwhelming success.
Not only have people reported feeling happier, healthier and less stressed, many workplaces have also become more productive. Most participants reported having more energy for other activities, such as socializing, exercising and leisure, while explaining that the reduction in hours allowed them to spend more time with their family and made it easier to spend time with their families. ‘performing other household chores. All the while, productivity has been maintained or improved in the majority of workplaces.