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How The Newly Announced UAE Work Week is an Opportunity For Work-Life Balance

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Will we finally strike balance? 2022 already promises to be a better year. With the announcement of the two-and-a-half-day weekend, spirits are high and everyone is excited. It’s almost like a long weekend every weekend. But how will the newly announced UAE work week and long weekend be an opportunity for workers to improve their work-life balance?

We all know there has been an increase in working hours in the last two years due to the ‘convenience’ of working from home. But this step will be an harbinger of worklife balance. […]

Some highly productive countries in the world like Germany, Norway and the Netherlands are known to have a shorter workweek. Employees there are likely to be more focused, meticulous and productive when they know they have enough time to de-stress over the weekend.

In the last few decades, multiple researches have been done on employee productivity. Most of them have concluded that the four-day workweek made employees more efficient. Working continuously for longer hours everyday has shown to reduce hourly productivity due to greater fatigue, reduced job satisfaction and lowered motivation.

A New Change ‘Compressed’ in a Week

However, this change is still new. Before now, employees work schedules have been based on a five or six-day workweek. There is a period of adjustment that every company will likely go through in adapting to this change. It is critical that companies do not make the shorter working week to become a “compressed” week.

A compressed week will attempt to put the old full 40-hour workweek (or more) into four days. But expecting employees to work 10-11 hours each day can negatively impact their productivity and health. Where such will be the case, the reduced (but compressed) workweek will have a counter-productive effect; it may lead to employee burnout. The aim should be to help employees work smart rather than work longer.

Recommended: UAE Has Designed a New Work-Life Balance Weekend

This change in the duration of the work week will gives employees a chance to grow in other areas of their life. There will be opportunity to spend more time with families as well as indulge in “me” time.

When employees feel rejuvenated from their ‘long’ weekends, they are likely to optimise their time and skills at work. There will also be improvements in their work life, and job satisfaction, thus creating a positive cycle of worklife balance. A shorter workweek will also reduce work related stress, which can lead to lesser staff turnover and absenteeism.

Long Weekend Brings Mental Health Opportunities

In terms of people’s mental health, this is a big step in the right direction. People will be able to pursue healthier relationships and friendships, improve their social life and create more valuable connections. Individuals are also likely to have more time to inculcate new skills, develop hobbies, nurture creativity; and generally get greater meaning and purpose from life.

This will be a great opportunity for families to find an activity that brings them together. There will now be more time to talk, communicate and be more healthily involved in each other’s lives. Working parents will now be able to focus better on their children, and connect deeper; on their thoughts, dreams and cognitions.

Extra Weekend Time to Reflect

Prior to now, many people did not have the time to reflect on their lives, learn from their past or hone their true authentic selves. Ordinarily, not everyone has the mental capacity to work on their emotional vulnerabilities. But this gets complicated and neglected due to exhaustion from work and limited free time. With this extra weekend, people can indulge in reading self-help books, or even go for therapy.

Gaining proper insight into our wants, needs, and values is very important. Being able to comprehend our shortcomings and taking necessary actions can improve our lives tremendously. The outcome from all of these can be a life full of hope, contentment and happiness. Will you say you understand better now, how the newly announced UAE work week is an opportunity for work-life balance? I do.

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