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Dubai: UAE announced on Tuesday that it would transition to a four-and-a half-day working week, with Friday afternoon, Saturday, and Sunday forming the new weekend. With this move, UAE has become the first nation in the world to introduce a national working week shorter than the global five-day week.

Business executives based in the UAE hailed the government’s decision and extend a warm welcome to the latest amendment.

Kamal Vachani, Group Director and Partner at Al Maya Group

I must say this is a landmark decision taken by the wise leadership of the UAE. I also congratulate the UAE’s leadership as it is the first country in the world to introduce a workweek shorter than global standards. I believe the move will enhance productivity and improve work-life balance. The decision on the new weekend will help the business community in many ways. A majority of countries across the world start their week from Monday, and the UAE will do the same from next year.

Anis Sajan, Vice-Chairman of Danube Group

It is an exemplary decision by the government of UAE, as the country is a hub for businesses globally. With the weekends now being in sync, the interactions will now become easier. I say this from experience as we have been in the country for over 25 years and deal with suppliers and customers in the Far East, Europe and Asia. All of these operate from Monday to Friday whereas we were off on Friday, leading to a 3-day gap in the interaction. This move will not only lead to a positive impact in various economic sectors but also improve the productivity of the workforce.

As announced by our chairman Rizwan Sajan, we would be implementing the change in the weekend from January 2022. At Danube, we have over 4,000 employees working with us, most of them living with their families. Since their weekends will be now be synchronised with schools, the employees will get ample amount of time to unwind with their families.

Paras Shahdadpuri, chairman, Nikai Group of Companies

This new weekend is a welcome initiative by the government. This will integrate UAE with most of the countries in the world, where the weekend is Saturday and Sunday. The Banks and Private sector will have better access to the world as Friday is a working day globally except in this region. This will be saving one day in the week, for effective work productivity with the East and the West.

Deepak Babani - Executive Vice Chairman, Eros Group

I feel it is a great move, as the UAE has now aligned with the international community to unify the holidays, so we have effectively five-strong working days to align with the international business. While the major portion of the globe was working on Friday, we had a holiday, and it was vice-versa on Sunday.

With the number of initiatives taken by the UAE in the last few years, it has become a major player on the world stage and is leading the Middle East, breaking old traditions and adopting modern business practices in the interest of the business community. This will contribute to a better work-life balance.

Krish Gopi, CEO of Tmrw, GEMS Education

“We are a global operation with business partners and customers all around the world. This will move us into sync with many of our major trading partners so that our working week coincides with theirs. That is obviously a good thing, although we will still need to be flexible enough to meet the needs of those markets nearer home too. To me, it makes perfect sense overall and I salute our leaders for the decision.”

Rahail Aslam, Group CEO, Select group

The UAE has become a very important international business hub and aligning our weekend with the rest of the major global markets will only serve to strengthen the attractiveness of the country as a leading business destination. A move like this reinforces the innovative and forward-thinking leadership within the UAE, as they continue to roll out pioneering strategies within the region.

As a company we maintain a significant number of international business relationships and aligning the weekend will allow our teams to improve communication, efficiency and productivity as we will no longer be out of sync with the workweeks of these global partners. In addition, from the perspective of our predominantly expat workforce, it will make maintaining relationships with overseas friends and families much easier. Everyone can now avail of the same days off, which will allow employees to maximise their time spent travelling internationally or entertaining visitors that come to the UAE.

Ashish Panjabi, Chief Operating Officer, Jacky’s Retail

As an international trading, financial and logistics centre, it is good to see the UAE adopt the international working week. The ability to work seamlessly from multiple locations and to have enough downtime is important. Well-being and mental health breaks are needed as we seem to be working for longer hours during the regular workdays. So it is good to see the government set an example for the private sector to follow.

Fady Boustany, Executive Director, Idea Agency

Being in Dubai for the past 25 years, I have seen the shift from Thursday-Friday to Friday-Saturday and now to Saturday-Sunday. This is due to the clear vision of the UAE leaders and their ability to change for the benefit of the people. We used to say in marketing “think global, act locally”. Now, the UAE has set new standards.

Being in the advertising and media industry, with the social media channels live all the time, our work has become a 24/7 job. The new weekend will allow more time to relax in order to boost the work-energy, while always connected. Working remotely is a trend that has changed the business environment worldwide, and accordingly, adapting to new timing will not be an issue.

Harish Tahiliani, Arab & India Spices LLC

I think the change of weekend to Saturday and Sunday is a really good move. With this change the UAE will be aligned with the weekend followed by the majority of the world, bringing a lot of convenience and ease in executing the business. Again, the great leaders of the UAE have shown us that they are continuously striving for betterment in all walks of life.

Clint Khan, Director of Y-Axis

This is a welcome change and will align the UAE with global markets and make it easier for international corporations to do business.

It will also ensure smooth financial trade and facilitate stronger international business links and opportunities for thousands of UAE-based and multinational companies.

The Saturday and Sunday weekend along with the Friday flexible hours and work-from-home option gives a perfect work and personal life balance to the flexible, secure and enjoyable lifestyle the UAE offers its citizens and residents.

Umesh Punia – CEO, Glaze Granite & Marble

Definitely, this is a great move. The new weekend days would align with Global markets and productivity will increase in most businesses, as we would get 5 strong working days aligned with international businesses. It would also help expats to connect with their families overseas on Saturdays & Sundays, which would help strengthen the family ties.

Since most of our purchases are from Europe & Brazil, this move would certainly bring in more efficiency in our purchase department, having our weekend aligned with our suppliers.

Sam M Bayat, Bayat Legal Services

I think this is among some of the most important decisions leaders in the UAE have taken.

This will certainly help our work as we will be more in tune with most parts of the world. Internally, we were already on a two-day weekend and the new half-day will push the staff for more productivity along with the work-from-home protocols we have in place. This extra half-day will further improve our staff's personal and family lives, making UAE a better place to work and live.

I guess now we have to plan for Sunday brunches!

Nishant Ranjan, CEO, GCC Operations, Bank of Baroda

This is a welcome move that will strengthen the progressive thought process of UAE.

It aligns with the global standards and augurs well for UAE, which is one of the leading players in the global markets.

Our organisation is a global entity, has frequent interactions with our head office and other offices globally. We will also follow suit as per the industry and will enable our employees' work timings to align with the timings of our head office, which will result in increasing the productivity and a better work-life balance of the employees.

- V.S Salil, CEO, HW International

I welcome this move by the government as this will bring the UAE’s financial sector into closer alignment with global real-time trading and communications-based transactions and also align the UAE with global markets and boost business continuity.

This will help our company increase the productivity of employees as they can balance work and life with short working days. This will help to effectively engage in activities such as pursuing education or travelling.


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