Starting January 1, 2022…

Earlier this week, on Tuesday December 7, 2021, the UAE government announced a massive change to the structure of the country’s working week.

As of January 1, 2022, federal employees will start a four-and-a-half day working week, running from Monday to Friday, with new working hours applied.

And although this, historic change is tantamount to a pretty seismic shift in work culture, studies in multiple countries have shown that reducing the number of hours in a working week, can drastically improve conditions for staff.

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What about productivity though? One of the biggest case studies conducted on the subject was in Iceland between 2015 and 2019. In the subjects studied, working weeks were reduced from 40 to either 36 or 35 hour weeks, the result whilst seemingly counter-intuitive was almost universal – either negligible, no, or sometimes even positive impacts on productivity.

We’ll have to wait to see if the same results will be observed here, but at the very least — the effect on a work-life will be huge. With this also only currently applicable to the public sector, we’re waiting to see whether this will trickle down to the private company work culture too. Your move HR departments.


Sharjah, however, has just gone one (.5) further…

From January 1, 2022 government workers in Sharjah will put in a four-day working week, with Friday, Saturday and Sunday off.

The decision was approved after the emirate’s own study by the Sharjah Executive Council and following the directives of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

Images: Getty