According to a new study conducted by International Workplace Group (IWG) which operates commercial workspaces such as Regus and Open Office, more than half of UAE employees work remotely every week, and over 50% do so for at least half of the week, signalling a major reexamining of the way companies are utilising corporate real estate.
The UAE study was part of a comprehensive global study based on the insights of over 18,000 business people across 96 companies. It found that every week, 60% of the UAE employees are working at least one day a week somewhere other than the office. More than half (52%) work remotely for half of the week or more, while one in 10 (10%) people work outside of their company’s main office location five times a week.
Globally, the results reflected a similar trend in the workforce with every week 70% of employees are working at least one day a week somewhere other than the office. According to the study, the emergence of this mobile workforce has been driven by technological change, globalisation and changes in employee expectations.
Mark Dixon, founder and CEO of IWG, said: “People from Seattle to Singapore, London to Lagos no longer need to spend so much time in a particular office. We are entering the era of the mobile workforce and it is hugely exciting. Not just for individual employees, but for businesses too. This is a huge shift in the workspace landscape globally, and businesses are now looking closely at what this means for their corporate real estate portfolios.”
The study by IWG also found that UAE businesses recognised that offering flexible working strategies to their employees provided them with significant benefits, ranging from: business growth (91%-2% above the global average); competitiveness (97%-10% above the global average); productivity (85%-3% above the global average); attracting and retaining top talent (84%-4% above the global average); profit maximisation (91%-8% above the global average)
The study concludes that flexible working not only reduces commuting time, but enhances productivity, staff retention, job satisfaction and even creativity. This is in addition to the financial and strategic advantages that it brings for businesses.
This flexible work approach has led to an increase in co-working spaces and even hotels are now redesigning their lobbies to allow people to conduct official meetings in breakout spaces and work while on business trips. These lobbies serve as meeting spaces by day and can be adapted into social areas by night. The tectonic shift in working approach is leading architects and developers alike to design more versatile and adaptable spaces as personal and professional lines blur in big cities such as the UAE.