4.5 – that’s the new number

Every once in a while, there comes across a piece of news that has deeper implications than what most people realize.

Today’s announcement by the UAE Government is one such instance.

UAE announced on Tuesday 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.

When I first came to the UAE, it had just transitioned from a split shift (8 am to 1 pm, 4 pm to 8 pm, 6 days a week) to a straight shift workday. Some companies even started to have 5-day weeks as a norm. However, the weekend was on Thursday and Friday.

This meant that there was a four-day mismatch with the rest of the world, since Saturday and Sunday was a normal weekend elsewhere.

Around 2006, the weekend was shifted to Friday-Saturday, and this in itself was a very good move.

Today, the UAE enters a new phase in it’s history. Not only has it shifted the weekend to be in line with global standards, it has also exceeded those standards by declaring a 4.5 day week – which leaves two and a half days for everyone to recharge.

UAE will now be fully aligned to global markets – financial, trade, services. But that is about business. As an expat who has been based here from 16 years, I find it surreal. Finally, will have my Sundays back:) I guess one can never really not miss a Sunday siesta!

The news came out in the morning. Within 15 minutes, we decided to implement the new workweek at my company. Although the announcement was for the public sector, why wait when it’s something good for the country, the business and the people?

Proud to be living and working here. See you tomorrow!