Dubai Consumer Mirror

Saturday, September 02, 2006

New Weekend, New Work Order

There is a bit of confusion around town... Though the government did give private businesses enough lead time for them to sort out the new weekend transition, a lot of companies are still scratching their heads on what the heck to do about it.

You see, most local private businesses operate on a 5.5 working day per week policy. Meaning, workers have a FULL working day from Saturdays till Wednesdays and on Thursdays, its a 1/2 working day which usually lasts till lunch time.

It was a convenient setup for most of these businesses. As they make sure their government customers are fully served throughout the week and their relatively less-important private sector clientele are attended to on Thursdays.

HR and Payroll departments in those locally run companies are having a hard time now. You see, employers can't ask their employees to work 1/2 a day on Fridays. Not because employers are kind and considerate, its because, and from a local company’s employer’s perspective, their staff will have nothing to do on a Friday, hence business owners will end up on the losing side. On the other hand, it is equally meaningless to have employees work 1/2 a day on Saturdays after a full day on Friday.

Knowing how some of these local companies are run and the mentality of its Accounting and HR people, here is a probable scenario:

HR and Payroll will end comeing up with a really backward thinking plan where employees will end up working an extra hour everyday to make up the additional 1/2 day off they are getting now. Or get that 1/2 day deducted from their employees already pathetic monthly salaries.

While such policies are hypothetically designed to maintain worker productivity, it will -most definitely- have an adverse impact on employee moral; dropping loyalty levels to the ground and forcing majority of employees seeking other options for better jobs.

Having said that, I honestly think that most local-5.5-working-days businesses will keep their working schedules unchanged: Saturdays till Wednesday and 1/2 day on Thursdays. No salary change, not extra working hours and no interrupted work environment. Beating the entire purpose of this nation-wide government initiative.

If there is anytime for those companies to start reviewing the way they do business, it is now. Local companies HAVE to get out of that 70s style business model and accept the fact that employees have to have a 2 day weekend. The transition from a 1 to 2 day weekend may cause a short term dent to their businesses productivity levels, but on the long run, such a transition will contribute to nurturing a loyal work force that won't swap jobs for an additional Dhs 200.


  • cant there be a friday off + a half day on sat..but the other way 'round.. employees coming in at 2 pm on saturday!

    By Blogger Harsha, at September 3, 2006 at 2:28 PM  

  • Hey at least you were given fair warning by your government. Ours just sprung it on us and will take effect October 1 in the middle of Ramadan!

    By Blogger Zaydoun, at September 3, 2006 at 5:32 PM  

  • I'm wondering how many people actually believe a lot of 'work' gets done on those half days, anyway. In most of the companies I've been employed by (excepting customer service which is ALWAYS busy), Thursdays seemed more like a sleepy, do nothing till lunch day... for all of us employees.

    By Blogger Tainted Female, at September 4, 2006 at 12:12 PM  

  • You are right, at school most parents were so confused as to what to do with their little ones in view of the new system.
    or most of them nothing has changed, except to pay extra for the creche, as most of them continue to work on thursdays.
    Kinda messes up our weekend because even at my Husband's company the old 1 and hal day (thurs/fri) system will continue.
    What is it that we have acheived again??

    By Blogger kaya, at September 5, 2006 at 9:32 AM  

  • I work for a private company with 1 and 1/2 day weekend. Thursday is for getting together and having breakfast, not much work gets done anyway. at least the company would save on the electricity if we given off.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 5, 2006 at 8:53 PM  

  • there's a sadder option: cancel half days altogether, work 6 days instead!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 6, 2006 at 2:42 PM  

  • there's a sadder option: cancel half days altogether, work 6 days instead!

    9/06/2006 2:42 PM


    By Blogger kaya, at September 6, 2006 at 9:40 PM  

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