UAE Managers and Firms see remote work as the new default; Microsoft study

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Remote Work
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A recent white paper published by US-based tech giant Microsoft has revealed that almost all (97 percent) of the UAE business leaders believe that their organizations will adopt a more hybrid way of working for the foreseeable future. 

Microsoft’s Work Reworked study for 2020 whitepaper, co-created by prominent management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group and research consultancy firm KRC Research aims to support business leaders across the Middle East and Africa who are navigating a new world of remote work.

611 leaders and employees in large enterprises within the UAE were asked about their experience since the beginning of the pandemic as remote working became popular. researchers also sought them about their expectations about the future of work.

The study found that managers and employees in the UAE mostly prefer working in a traditional office setting as they expect to spend only 42 percent of their workweek outside the office.

Organizations too are now changing their approach towards employment with a major chunk (83 percent) defaulting remote work as their policy. Statistics revealed as part of the whitepaper support the move as 82 percent of managers reported equal or increased productivity in their employees with remote working.

A good portion of supervisors also sees the remote work policy as a powerful way to help retain their best workers. 76 percent of Emirati business leaders also reported additional cost benefits of the new normal such as a reduction in spending on business travel.

Challenges of Remote Working 

The new normal has its own set of challenges that needs to be tackled. The study reveals that respondents feel disconnected from their teams making it difficult to create team cohesion as people work in silos.

The paper reported that 61 percent of UAE managers expressed that they had trouble creating a strong team culture.

Expressing his opinion on the physical and mental distancing during remote work, Microsoft UAE’s Business Group Director, for Modern Workplace and Security Mr. Mohammed Arif stated that “Being social is a big part of what it means to be human and the traditional office setting helped fulfill that need to interact with others daily. In this new world of hybrid work, it will be vital for organizations to recreate social moments like the morning coffee catch-ups in the office kitchen to help maintain bonds between colleagues.”

“As an example, Together mode in Teams makes meetings more engaging by placing them in a shared background and by showing participants’ faces and body language, making it easier to pick up on the non-verbal cues that are so important to human interaction, Mr. Arif added.