Sharjah: The Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB) and the Department of Statistics and Community Development (DSCD) recently announced the launching of ‘Sharjah Outlook Forum’. The annual event will evaluate specific developmental milestones, experiences and initiatives introduced in the emirate as well as the best practices adopted by its entities.
Each year, a specific central initiative will be discussed by a host of representatives of local and federal government entities, in addition to experts from different developmental sectors with international experiences to meet the needs of the emirate’s residents and the community at large.
The inaugural edition will kick-off on February 1, 2023, under the theme ‘4X3 Indicators and Prospects’, and will discuss Sharjah’s pioneering four-day work week mandate with a three-day weekend, “the world’s first-of-its-kind system in terms of its scope and impact”.
The new work week system offers public sector employees, including education and healthcare institutions as well as all government entities, a three-day weekend. The four-day work week system had only been previously adopted on an experimental or trial basis in specific sectors and was not approved and adopted officially.
The announcement was made during a recent meeting at the DSCD headquarters in the presence of Sheikh Mohammed bin Humaid Al Qasimi, Chairman of DSCD; Sheikh Sultan bin Abdullah bin Salem Al Qasimi, Director, DSCD; Tariq Saeed Allay, SGMB Director-General; and Alya Al Suwaidi, SGMB Director, to address the impact of the new work week system on the quality of life of residents and the productivity of human resources, in addition to reinforcing the emirate’s appeal for living, working and investment.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Humaid Al Qasimi, Chairman of the SCTDA, underscored that the forum translates the vision of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, on the relationship between development and the human being who is described by Sheikh Sultan as the essence, purpose and maker of development.
Impact on society
“The Sharjah Outlook Forum will provide significant data to public and private entities dedicated to tracing the emirate’s development journey, particularly in light of the world’s first-of-its-kind inclusive adoption of the four-day work week, given that it had a direct impact on local communities, business community, productivity, and continuation of offering services to the public. Although this experience is promising, it is essential to discuss it transparently and scientifically in order for us to develop and build on our experiences and progress forward,” the SCTDA chairman said.
Tariq Saeed Allay said: “The form will be an important annual evaluation and assessment platform that convenes a host of decision-makers and high-ranking officials in public and semi-government sectors to discuss and deliberate a specific experience through exploring its results and impact as well as its development and amendment mechanism. The forum will also enable us to compare our experiences with those of other societies to maintain Sharjah’s position as an incubator of society, families and individuals alike, along with being a champion of culture and inclusive development.”
He added: “Countries that experimented with the four-day work week system trials in some sectors were looking for mechanisms that strike a balance between the quality of life on the one hand, and improving productivity, reducing costs and resource consumption, and stimulating creative economy on the other hand. Since each experience has positive and negative aspects, the forum will host a number of experts and representatives of key global experiences to share the means through which they successfully bridged the gap and shortcoming of their experiences, particularly in terms of the projected impact on some sectors.”
Increase in productivity
On the Forum’s projected output and results, the SGMB director-general remarked that the milestone developments the world has been seeing over the past two decades, including AI, digitisation, transformation into modern work and life styles, are time-effective and can increase production without compromising people’s daily lives and needs.
He added that the expected output of the Forum will comprise how to harness technology in ensuring successful experiences and supporting communities’ quest for more prosperity. It will assess the experiences of Sharjah and other cities utilising scientific methods and data to enable policy-makers take evidence-based decisions.