Almost two-thirds of UAE employees work remotely every week, with the majority doing so at least half the week leading to implications for corporate real estate requirements, a new study by London Stock Exchange-listed International Workplace Group (IWG) has found.
Each week, around 60 per cent of UAE employees work at least one day a week somewhere other than the office, while 52 per cent of those work remotely for half the week or more, and 10 per cent five times per week, according to the survey of over 18,000 people across 96 companies and 100 countries, conducted in January.
“We are entering the era of the mobile workforce… This is a huge shift in the workspace landscape globally, and businesses are looking closely at what this means for their corporate real estate portfolios,” said Mark Dixon, founder and chief executive of IWG - the parent company of flexible workspace providers such as Regus.
The UAE findings were in line with global trends, with around 70 per cent of all respondents reporting they work at least one day a week somewhere other than the office.
Internationally, the workforce is becoming increasingly mobile due to technological change, globalisation and shifts in employee expectations, sometimes followed by labour market reforms.
“New technologies mean many of us can now work anytime, anywhere,” said Ian Hallett, IWG’s group managing director and global head of brands and ventures. “The challenge for businesses is how to optimise this new landscape. Companies are realising the benefits of flexible working and its ability to increase productivity, job satisfaction and business performance.”
Among the benefits of flexible working are higher than average business growth, competitiveness, productivity, talent retention and profit maximisation, IWG said.
A total of 84 per cent of respondents in the UAE said flexible working helps companies retain top talent, and 65 per cent of companies surveyed now offer this option to help them recruit. Almost half said flexible working improves job satisfaction, while 86 per cent said flexible workspaces enable employees to be more productive.
The survey also showed that skipping the office to work elsewhere and the use of shared workspaces are no longer the preserve of start-ups. Large corporates such as Etihad Airways, Diesel, MasterCard, Microsoft and Oracle have also adopted a flexible workspace approach. “One day soon, flexible working could simply be known as ‘working’. We are reaching the tipping point,” Mr Dixon said.