Dubai: The UAE tech-telecom holding company e& is piloting a four-day work week - a move that could rewrite the whole work-life equation in the country with more government-related enterprises reportedly considering such a move.
"We are thrilled to pilot this initiative. Just as we continuously innovate in our products and services, we also recognise the need to modernise workplace strategies," said Dena Almansoori, Group Chief Human Resources Officer at e&. "What may have worked in the past may not be suitable for the future."
e& has piloted a four-day workweek for employees across three departments in the UAE, 'becoming the first technology company to embrace a global call for workplace flexibility'.
By reducing travel times and minimising resource consumption, we are reflecting the UAE's ambition to well-being and sustainability, while supporting e&’s commitment to achieving net zero emissions in scope 1 and 2 by 2030
Who can join in
e& employees opting to for the pilot test can take a three-day weekend Friday to Sunday.
The company has in place a hybrid workplace with employees able to work remotely for a couple of days a week. One of those are Fridays, helping to 'focus on sustainability by reducing energy consumption in offices and carbon emissions through transportation'.
In the recent past, several blue-chip UAE companies (publicly listed or otherwise) have considered bringing in four-day work-week options, industry sources say. Now that e& Group has sort of taken the first step, there could be others joining in, the sources add.
Sharjah currently allows government departments to have a 3-day weekend.
"e& launching the 3-day weekend scheme now carries a lot of weight; the Group's workforce numbers around 40,000 across nearly 20 countries," said an HR consultant in Dubai. "The new pilot test applies to the e& UAE operations, which itself has more than 10,000 staffers.
"Where e& will score is when it comes to attracting and retaining top-tier talent. It will take a lot for other companies to match the incentives - and the 3-day weekend - package."
Post-Covid ways of working
Whle the work-from-home movement has subsided as Covid became more of a memory, hybrid working options continue to figure prominently.