As we emerge from the impact of COVID-19, it’s clear that our way of working will never be the same. Working culture all over the world has changed, and while some regions of the world have been more reluctant to embrace the status quo, more and more firms in the UAE are adopting hybrid working models.
Advancements in technology have brought about new and innovative ways to work, and organizations in the Middle East are now realizing that adopting hybrid working trends is empowering employees, engaging more customers, and optimizing operations.
The 2022 Cisco Hybrid Work Study found that 90% of employees in the UAE are either working remotely, or have adopted a hybrid working arrangement, which is now in line with the global working statistics.
A better work-life balance
"As a result of better balance, most employees are happier, healthier, wealthier and have stronger familial ties," Cisco Global Hybrid Work Study 2022
This transformation is allowing employees to achieve more, due to a better work-life balance. Hybrid working is enabling them to get work done in an environment where they feel more secure, are more productive, and can deliver exceptional results.
There has been a positive impact on financial well-being, with employees being able to save on commuting costs, eating out, entertainment, wardrobe, personal care costs and more.
Remote working has also had a positive impact on physical wellbeing, by changing eating habits, and increasing opportunities for exercise.
The Cisco study also found that for a significant majority of people (73.7%), remote working has improved the quality of family life, and strengthened relationships with friends, as well as increasing workers’ self esteem and confidence.
Emotional and mental wellbeing
A considerable proportion of those surveyed admitted that it has decreased stress levels, as employees found their new working environment less pressurized and more relaxed. In turn, this increased motivation and creativity.
Attracting and retaining the best talent
The Cisco report also looks at the impact of hybrid work on productivity, performance, and quality of work. Offering workers flexibility is also a key component in attracting better qualified workers, from a wider talent pool.
At the same time, 86% of workers surveyed said that hybrid work models allowed them to find the time to learn new skills, helping them to grow and flourish in their roles.
The widening employer/employee disconnect
A survey by LinkedIn revealed that 70% of professionals in the UAE and Saudi Arabia would consider resigning, or have already left their jobs due to a lack of flexibility, or if asked to return to the office full time.
This widening disconnect is already resulting in a surge of resignations in other parts of the world. With hybrid working models now becoming an accepted part of working culture in the Middle East, employees have more power to choose how, when and where they work.
Moving forward in the UAE
Now that employees in the Middle East have experienced the benefits of hybrid work, organizations in the UAE are recognizing the importance of flexible working. But there is still plenty of room for improvement to hybrid working models.
"A successful, future-ready hybrid model must, in equal measure deliver secure connectivity from anywhere, while maintaining trust, wellbeing and unity among highly distributed teams," Reem Assad, VP Cisco Middle East and Africa
Of those companies polled in the Middle East, 70% said they need to rethink their work culture and mindset, to make hybrid working truly inclusive.
Those companies who continue to prioritize strict timetables and an insistence on being present in the office will lose employees, and experience a widespread reduction in productivity.
Additionally, from a technology point of view, for many organizations preparing for a hybrid working model means an overhaul of their Unified Communications and Collaboration infrastructure.
Without technology that works 100% of the time, hybrid working won’t be possible. But with a commitment to true cultural and technological readiness, it’s the companies in the UAE who will ultimately benefit from higher staff engagement and performance.