New Work Week And Its Implications On Employee Productivity

January 21, 2022

Before the new year, the UAE announced its plan to change from a five-day workweek to four and a half days effective on the 1st of January, 2022. This exciting announcement made UAE the first country in the whole world to make an employee-friendly transition promoting workplace productivity and healthy lifestyle. 


According to the new schedule, Monday to Thursday the work timings would be from 7.30 am to 3.30 pm, followed by a half-day on Friday from 7.30 am to 12.00 pm. The real question surrounding this announcement is its implications on productivity. This article will focus on understanding if the new-work week law adds value in boosting employee productivity. 


How Many Hours Is Unhealthy Work? 

Despite the development of HR cloud-based software and related technologies to make work easy for employees, many organizations can set unhealthy precedence in the work environment where employees are compelled to work longer hours than necessary. Over-working, in general, more than the regular 40 hours per week can result in easy burnout, frustration, disorientation and stress.


A high percentage of employees work an extra 20 hours a week, but the majority of over-workers clock in an extra 10 hours weekly. Working more than the standard 40 hours per week is closely connected to poor communication skills, impaired sleep and even depression. These outcomes of overworking affect how work is done, or the approach taken towards completing work, negatively influencing productivity. 


The outcomes of the regular 40 hours per week schedule 

Even though many parts of the world still see working overtime as a means to success, working for long hours week after week can significantly drop productivity and foster burnout. Especially with a multitude of apps, devices and HR systems innovated to keep employees more connected and included, it’s challenging to completely disconnect from the work.


With a regular 40 hours per week working schedule, tasks still overlap into the weekend. This could be in the form of the HR managers expecting an employee to reply to urgent emails, forward a document, or check or approve something. While this may seem like simple or minor tasks that can be done in a few minutes, it still deprives an employee of a quality weekend that is switched off from work. 


This common pattern of how a typical employee weekend is spent negatively influences their work-life balance and the ability to sit back and reboot physically and mentally for the new week ahead.


How Does The New Working Schedule Boost Productivity 

While it may for sure seem counterintuitive, yes, working fewer hours with the new working schedule in the UAE can be productive. Firstly, limiting working hours can help employees focus on their work better, and help facilitate reaching targets early, provided that they are given an efficient HR platform to work with. 


Secondly, having a long weekend gives enough time for an employee to have a healthy family relationship, attend to their personal needs, and even engage in other activities that are good for their mind and body, like workouts or Yoga.

All these outcomes of a longer weekend foster a calm mind and, most importantly, a stress-free healthy lifestyle. Leading a stress-free life promotes mindfulness, boosts creativity and festers resilience which is highly crucial to ensuring productivity.


Lastly, the new work week that gives the benefit of a more extended resting period reduces how often employees fall sick. This improves their health and happiness- which sets them to do their best work throughout the week. It also reduces employee absenteeism and related unproductive work consequences.