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Wed 4 Jul 2018 11:27 AM

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Arabian Business Podcast: Will flexi-working, remote working and co-working define office life in the future?

Arabian Business talks to two industry professionals about how workplace trends and the goal of better work-life balance are shaping how, where and when we do our jobs

Arabian Business Podcast: Will flexi-working, remote working and co-working define office life in the future?
Last year, 60 percent of UAE employees said they worked at least one day out of the week from home or a location other than their office, according to a report from IWG. (Image supplied: NEST at TRYP by Wyndham)

Last year, 60 percent of UAE employees said they worked at least one day out of the week from home or a location other than their office, according to a report from IWG.

In addition to that, a survey from recruitment company bayt.com revealed that fully 86 percent of UAE workers cite a better work-life balance when it comes to pursuing new opportunities in the country – which means, in part, they’re seeking greater flexibility to select their working hours.


The future of office work


Then there’s the office environment, with more open spaces, designs to encourage collaboration between departments and, perhaps importantly, the gradual end of the dedicated the work station – facilitated by hot-desking and, increasingly, off-site co-working spaces.

In the latest Arabian Business podcast, two regional professionals examines these trends and what is driving them, from the greater productivity from motivated, refreshed employees to the significant cost-savings for companies on space and rent. The emphasis, they say, is on the result not the process.

“If you go the Jones Lang LaSalle head office in London, no one has their own desk. It’s essentially a co-working space,” says Kevan Halliwell, founder of new co-working concept Our Space, whose facility is located in the Lamborghini showroom on Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road.

“They have their own café, their own meeting spaces and their own c-suite. But everybody shares – and that takes the financial pressure off the balance sheet and puts it as an operating cost.”

According to Shreyansi Gupta, head of B2B marketing for bayt.com, employees are having a greater say in their environments – with many of them bringing their expectations to Dubai from other developed markets.

“We very recently published a survey in which we asked workers in the UAE to design their ideal workplace,” she said, “and 71 percent wanted more open office, with no cabins or doors, and companies are responding. And if companies don’t listen, they’ll get left behind when it comes to attracting the best talent.”