For weekends to exist, there have to be a bunch of weekdays in between.
From Monday morning blues to the relief we associate with Friday evenings, our lives are structured around this immovable weekly cycle. However, the UAE thinks we can do things differently.
This Tuesday, the Gulf nation’s government announced a new national week layout for 2022 onward, comprising four-and-a-half days with Saturday-Sunday weekends.
That’s 10% less than the previous arrangement we’re all familiar with!
Implementing a 4.5 Day Workweek
#UAE announces today that it will transition to a four and a half day working week, with Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday forming the new weekend.
All Federal government departments will move to the new weekend from January 1, 2022. pic.twitter.com/tQoa22pai9
— UAEGOV (@UAEmediaoffice) December 7, 2021
Shaking up weekly routines isn’t a new thing for the UAE. Back in 2006, the nation became the first Gulf state to move from a Thursday-Friday weekend to a Friday-Saturday setup.
The former was a common arrangement for several Islamic countries, where Friday afternoons were traditionally reserved for prayer and sermons.
“Friday sermons and prayers will be held after 1.15 pm all year long in the UAE,” the government said. “Employees will have the option of flexible working hours and work-from-home on Fridays.”
Naturally, the new workweek has become a major topic of discussion around the world. According to the state news agency WAM, the move isn’t just about ‘boosting work-life balance’ and ‘enhancing social wellbeing’, although those are the most obvious benefits.
With a currently ongoing World Expo and an unfolding plan to break away from its oil-dependent economy, the UAE is dead-set on becoming the Gulf’s premier business destination. As WAM puts it:
“It will ensure smooth financial, trade and economic transactions with countries that follow a Saturday/Sunday weekend, facilitating stronger international business links and opportunities for thousands of UAE-based and multinational companies.”
In a nutshell, the workweek shift gives the nation an extra trading day and a schedule synced to global markets before any other GCC country – making it more lucrative for potential investors.
What do Indians Think?
Indians are the most common nationality in the UAE, comprising around 27% of the entire country’s residents and workforce.
Naturally, Desi Twitter took to their keyboards en-masse as the news dropped. Several simply voiced their appreciation for the progressive move, encouraging private companies to follow suit:
Appreciable initiative by UAE government for enhanced focus, productivity and better Work-Life balance. Hope private companies follows this humanitarian suggestive
— Ekata Mohapatra (@ekatamohapatra) December 7, 2021
Others rushed off to consider their job prospects,
How do I apply for a job there? 🥺
— Karat Halwa 🦹🏻♂️ (@that27karatguy) December 7, 2021
While some simply took a moment to voice their frustrations with the Indian system.
This will never be acceptable in India where companies are usually exploiting weekends for work.
— JustTrading (@StockWalaTrader) December 7, 2021
— தோழர் நீதிமான் (@proletariatSOS) December 8, 2021
If anything, we’re certainly excited to see how this pans out. With all eyes on Dubai, perhaps this could lead to other governments taking the plunge – only time will tell.
(Image Source: ZQ Lee, Unsplash)