More than half of working professionals in the Mena region believe that remote working will increase after the Covid-19 pandemic has been brought under control, according to a survey by jobs site Bayt.com and market research company YouGov.
Only 16 per cent of Mena workers believe that workplaceswill go back to what they were before the pandemic, the survey revealed.
Bayt and YouGov interviewed 3,206 respondents between August 18 and September 14, from countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq.
“The success of remote work has reimagined how corporate work gets done, as well as where the work takes place,” said Shreyansi Gupta, head of marketing at Bayt.com.
“Most employees crave flexibility after working from home for months, which is likely to transform a company’s culture, employee engagement, the way the work gets done and how office space is used.”
After the onset of Covid-19, most organisations around the world switched to remote working to enforce physical distancing restrictions that were necessary to curb the spread of the pandemic.
However, with an accelerated vaccination campaign under way, coronavirus cases have declined significantly and companies are increasingly asking their employees to return to office.
About 78 per cent of employees in the UAE believe the traditional 9-to-5 work routine is outdated and has been replaced with anytime working, a survey this month by US electronics company Poly found.
About 67.6 per cent of employees in the country believe they are more productive when working from home, despite organisations increasingly returning to normal amid a fall in the number of infections, according to the survey.
Meanwhile, about 53 per cent of respondents in Mena said that one of remote working's biggest benefits was time that would have otherwise been spent on the daily commute, according to Bayt.com.
Fifty-two per cent said working in a comfortable work area was a benefit of remote work while 41 per cent cited time spent with family and friends as their reasons for preferring remote work.
Another 41 per cent said they could save more money and 39 per cent said it reduced absenteeism.
More than four in 10 (41 per cent) Mena-based employees said frequent technical glitches were one of the most common challenges associated with remote work, Bayt.com said.
Thirty-six per cent of respondents said they found it challenging to separate work and personal life while working remotely while 34 per cent cited frequent interruptions and another 34 per cent were worried about how isolation could affect their mental health, the survey revealed.
“Making the shift to this new way of working has been uncharted territory for the majority of employers and employees alike,” said Zafar Shah, research director at YouGov.
“Although the transition to remote work has been positively received by a large portion of the survey respondents, some have reported challenges. To mitigate this, managers should encourage intentional, effective and efficient communication at all levels of the organisation.”
Only 18 per cent of professionals in the Mena region work from home throughout the week while 55 per cent of those surveyed go to the office everyday, the study found.
Fifteen per cent of those surveyed would prefer to entirely work from home while 53 per cent of respondents would prefer a hybrid working model. About 31 per cent of respondents said they prefer to return to the office or work on-site.
As companies enable remote working at scale for a majority of their workforce, most have ensured that employees have seamless access, through their devices, to their workplace apps.
About 57 per cent of survey respondents in Mena said they have all the resources required to do their job remotely, Bayt.com found.