What Happened After The UAE Changed Their Working Week

The United Arab Emirates shifted its working week to early 2022 to better align with the rest of the world. The government’s aim was to improve citizens’ work-life balance and consolidate Dubai’s position as the business hub of the Middle East. But do its people think the change has worked?

With just three and a half weeks’ notice, the UAE government changed the country’s working week. Government employees began working Monday to Friday, with a flexible half-day on Friday, a change from the previous Sunday-Thursday workweek.

Although the decision was sudden, it was no surprise. It was one of many initiatives by the authorities aimed at boosting the UAE’s post-pandemic economy and helping it stand out among its neighbours.

It’s also not the first time the country has changed its weekend. The United Arab Emirates adopted Friday as a weekly public holiday in 1971 and did not add Thursday to make it a two-day weekend until 1999. Then in 2006 the weekend was replaced by Friday and Saturday.

Steven Valentino is the CEO and founder of The London Project, a restaurant in Dubai specializing in brunches. The Friday brunch used to be hugely popular for champagne-bottle tourists and a mainstay for city dwellers who “work hard, play hard”, but has now moved to Saturdays.

“When I talk to people who have been here a long time, they find it hard to adapt. You notice the change, but I really think everyone has adapted pretty quickly,” Valentino said.

So how many private companies are supporting the change? How does this affect the UAE’s relations with the rest of the region? Watch our video above to learn more.

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