Flexible Hours and Smart Working Tools: Big Hit Among UAE Employees, New Study Finds

Employees in the UAE rate their current employers most highly for the smart tools and flexible working hours they provide, according to new survey findings amongst over 1,000 employees and HR professionals in the UAE.

The study, conducted exclusively by YouGov for The Federal Authority for Government Human Resources (FAHR), was commissioned in March 2015 to uncover emerging trends in human capital management in the UAE.

An overriding 64% of employees in the UAE rate flexible working hours, provided by employers based on personal circumstances, as good or very good, which is particularly prevalent amongst Emirati respondents (83%).

Encouragingly, the majority of employees overall (74%), also believe a remote and flexible work schedule increases their productivity, and 7 in 10 say they are given the opportunity to work remotely across the UAE today. Of those that do work remotely, 37% work most of the week outside the office.

It looks as though flexible working hours are here to stay. When asked how they see the future workplace in the UAE, the highest proportion of HR professionals (54%), say there will be additional flexibility in staff working hours. This is followed by embracing a more efficient workplace (52%) and better learning opportunities (51%).

UAE working professionals rate their current employers second most highly for the availability of smart tools to increase their work productivity (57%). Again, there is a clear indication that the tech-based tools on offer to employees will only expand in future with 85% of HR professionals claiming their organisations are open to adopting smart technologies in the workplace. Of those already adopting change for the future, 54% are extremely supportive of embracing new technological advancements.

Commenting on the findings, YouGov’s research director Lara Al Barazi said, “It’s interesting to note the insights indicate a prominent trend towards an increasingly ‘remote workplace’, and as businesses continue to embrace technological advancements – this will only appreciate the convenience of flexible working hours and open up a world of possibilities for a workforce hungry for the perfect work/life balance.”

That said, there’s no surprise that 40% of HR professionals also say hiring professional and technical staff has become increasingly competitive over the past 12 months. With 2 in 5 employees saying they look to change their job in the next 6 months, this only highlights how critical it is for businesses to listen to the needs of the next generation’s tech-savvy candidate base to win the fight for talent in the region.

Ibrahim Fikri, director of projects at FAHR commented further on the study saying, “The leadership of the UAE have long set a vision for driving smart initiatives within the government and public sectors. Findings from this study further support this vision by illustrating how smart technology can improve productivity and overall economic competitiveness in the country.”

To help create a vision of the future workplace in the next five years, full insights from the study, which reveal future trends in HR policy, hiring, Expo 2020 impact, Emiratisation and more, will be revealed by YouGov at the FAHR international conference on 27 April 2015 in Dubai, for which they are official research partner.

The conference which is held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, is organized in collaboration with Informa Middle East and is held this year under the theme of emerging trends and innovation in human capital. Ramy Bayyour, Conference Director, commented on the agenda of the event saying, “The event this year brings the key topics of technology and innovation in the workplace into the spotlight with a host of global and regional keynote speakers including everyone’s favourite employer Google. We at Informa are very proud to be collaborating with FAHR on this event.”

The FAHR International Conference is supported by Headline Sponsor Franklin Covey, Silver Sponsors Wiley and Dragon Oil; Associate Sponsors ENOC; Educational Sponsor The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management and Knowledge Partner SHRM.

Note: This study was conducted amongst 804 employees and 214 HR professionals in the UAE between 15 March and 1 April 2015. Data is broadly representative of the working online population and HR professionals in the UAE.

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