38% of professionals in the Middle East have expressed their desire to move to full-time remote working, with a further 32% wanting at least 50% remote working this year.
Jason Grundy, Managing Director at Robert Walters Middle East commented that 2020 was the year of the world’s largest remote working experiment, and employers would be amiss to think that there wouldn’t be some long-term changes to employee expectations as a result. He also mentioned, “Whilst the pandemic did not necessarily bring about entirely new trends in working-style, it certainly fast-tracked the inevitable around flexible working – speeding the transition up by as much a 5-10 years for some companies.
We anticipate that some of the changes incorporated into workplaces as a result of Covid-19 in 2020 will be more enshrined in day to day working environments going forward and for some professional industries there will be an element of remote working embedded for good.”
Jason added, “A clear finding from the survey is that there are a number of hidden benefits to office working such as providing structure, professional & personal support, social interaction, and all-round wellbeing benefits – that are not openly being discussed, perhaps due to individual cases or sensitivities.
With many banging the drum on the benefits of remote working and no longer having to commute, it makes it increasingly difficult for individuals to open about the value they placed on face-to-face support from management, the ease of working on ergonomic desks & chairs, and the sense of belonging or cultural fit which provides some with a purpose. Whilst there is no right answer, companies will really need to take stock of working practices this year to see what will best serve the needs of both employees and the business in the long term.”
According to the statics shocking 73% of professionals have enjoyed the flexible hours afforded with home working, and over a third (31%) stated that working from home has allowed for an increased focus on wellbeing and a quarter (26%) found that the more regular updates & check-in calls with managers and colleagues during lockdown to be a positive change to their work style. An overwhelming 61% of professionals state that their overall expectations of their employer have changed in the past year due to Covid-19. In positive news, 61% of businesses will be looking to change their offering in response to the change in employee expectations. At the top of employers’ list is reduced or reconfigured office space (28%), enhanced mental health & wellbeing policies (38%), and an increased investment in technology, apps & tools (43%). After the opportunities were presented to the professionals, they stated that the compulsory remote working unknowingly pushed them to improve their business communication in such a way that the office atmosphere didn’t support. The reliance on virtual presentations, over-the-phone discussions, and video calls being a key driver in this. In fact, during lockdown professionals in the Middle East ditched the age-old email (31%), in place of instant messenger (71%), video calls (69%) and telephone calls (62%) as their primary form of workplace communication – as the lack of physical interaction with the outside world drove professionals to be less formal and more conversational with colleagues and acquaintances.
All the resources comes from the Salary Surveyor, Robert Walters 2021 Salary Survey. The data from the Firm’s annual employment trends survey which undertook approximately 1000 plus white collar professionals.