Fifty-one percent of UAE workers have felt happier over the past year as a result of working from home, according to a new study commissioned by Avaya.
The Life and Work Beyond 2020 study, conducted by research firm Davies Hickman Partners, polled 10,000 consumers and workers in 11 countries to discover the impacts of COVID-19 on consumer wellbeing and values as the world embraces a new world of work.
The research found that workers in the UAE are among the fondest of work-from-anywhere models, with 64% saying that the ability to conduct hybrid work – from a home or office – would contribute to their happiness. That compares to 40% of respondents in Germany, 44% in the UK, and 62% in the United States who said the same thing.
The survey also revealed that UAE workers are the world’s best-equipped for remote working, with 64% claiming that they have access to the technology necessary to work from anywhere – a higher number of respondents than seen in any other country. United States workers are second-best equipped with 62% having access to the technology they need to work from anywhere, while in the UK that number was 55%.
As well as a preference for the ability to work from anywhere, the study revealed some of the biggest worries that UAE employees have about the future of work. Over half (51%) said that returning to the office full-time would be their biggest worry, while 44% identified being replaced by automation as their top concern.
“Our Life and Work Beyond 2020 study identifies the large-scale changes that are taking place in the world of work, as well as how these changes are perceived by employees. By understanding employees’ concerns about the workplace, both now and in the future, business leaders and government organizations can determine the best routes forward,” said Nidal Abou-Ltaif, President – International, Avaya.
“It is encouraging to see a majority of UAE employees feeling well-equipped with the technology to work from anywhere – and is a validation of the work we at Avaya have been doing with organizations across the country to enable digital workforces. The key finding, however, is that 40% of UAE employees actually worry about working from home forever, meaning that a key requirement for business success in 2021 and beyond will be building a hybrid model of work that suits the needs of every employee”, he added.
Technology, working space key to productivity
While UAE respondents ranked among the world’s happiest and best equipped when it came to working from anywhere, the survey still revealed areas for improvement. Almost a quarter (24%) said that they had experienced challenges as a result of the remote working model, while 25% said that they do not have access to the technology they need to work remotely.
What’s more, many employees struggle with their working environments at home, with 47% expressing a desire for a larger working space, and 33% saying that working from home was not appropriate for family life.
Happiness drives workplace productivity
Despite a majority of UAE employees willing to embrace a new, hybrid world of work, concerns about a return to the office remain.
Almost a third (30%) said they do not believe that their employers trust them to work from anywhere, and 37% said that they do not believe their employer puts an emphasis on their wellbeing. What’s more, 39% worry about meeting people face-to-face once they are back in a working environment.
The study revealed that there is a strong motivation to address employee concerns like these: Almost half (47%) said they are happy at work, with 47% saying that their productivity improves when they are happy.