Will Bahrain also get a four-day week?
By Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood
Despite the recent Omicron scare, National Day festivities, Christmas preps and other competing concerns/festivities, what dominated conversations last week was the announcement by the UAE government that 2022 will usher in a four-day workweek in the trend-setting emirate.
Naturally, people in Bahrain wanted to know if the Kingdom and other GCC countries would follow suit. We have emerged from a two year period when the pandemic turned our way of life topsy-turvy.
We worked from home, conducted school classes, office meetings and even weddings online and refused to travel too far from home.
In spite of the restricted lifestyle, we also got to appreciate family life because of the forced proximity in which we lived with our partners, children, parents etc.
We realized that life can be short and change dramatically overnight and we must chase our dreams with a passion to achieve them – that the time to do so is finite.
In the light of this realization, a four-day workweek makes perfect sense. There are many facets to this development. Of course, the arrangement is being test-driven by government offices rather than the private sector. Employers are still leery about the cost and productivity benefits of a four-day workweek.
Older employees are excited about the promise of ‘work-life balance’ and millennials are preparing to chase their leisure dreams and hobbies and become more rounded persons. What a four-day workweek standard represents is actually a sharing of the fruits of technological advances with employers.
Many powerful trade unions around the world have started to raise the banner for this system and believe that AI technology especially will significantly disrupt every aspect of every industry in every country including how and when we work. Within the near future, we’re likely to see an increase in remote and more flexible work schedules.
Studies have shown that not only does a 4 day work week increase employee satisfaction, company commitment and teamwork, but it also decreases stress levels.
Even better, reducing employees’ work schedules to a four-day workweek doesn’t harm their productivity or company output. Overworked employees are actually less productive than employees working an average or normal working week.
Less stress, more family time, more leisure – that sounds like a recipe for a happy Kingdom. Let us all hope that by our 51st National Day, Bahrain too will be a four-work day country!
Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood is the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Tribune and the President of the ArabAfrican Unity Organisation for Relief, Human Rights and Counterterrorism