By Sam Bridge
Remote work is applicable for pregnant women, mothers of children in G-9 and below, people of determination, those with respiratory problems and employees aged 60 and above
The UAE government said late on Friday that it will be activating remote work for a segment of federal government employees, effective from Sunday for two weeks.
Initally, remote working practices will run to March 26 but is subject to renewal, state news agency WAM reported.
The decision comes as a precautionary measure to the new coronavirus which has so far infected 85 people in the UAE.
Employees will be able to use the government’s technological systems and platforms to ensure business continuity away from the normal office environment.
Remote work is applicable for pregnant women, mothers of children in G-9 and below with duties that do not necessitate physical presence at workplace, people of determination, those with respiratory problems and weak immune system, and employees aged 60 and above.
Federal employees are expected to coordinate with their respective human resources department to ensure uninterrupted workflow.
The decision also stressed that all ministries and federal departments are to capitalize on effective use of advanced technologies and digital platforms to serve members of the public, with aim to decrease visits by members of the public to their centers.
Additionally, the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources has put in place systems and regulations to ensure adherence to high standards of work and productivity during remote work period, WAM said.
It added that the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority is also providing all infrastructure to ensure effective remote work and smart services around the clock to ensure government inter-connectivity and coordination.
The remote working announcement comes as global technology giants operating in the Middle East are seeing a significant uptick in interest in demand amid the uncertainty surrounding the global coronavirus pandemic.
Around the region – and the world – many companies have mandated that employees work from home in a bid to combat the further spread of the virus, while others have begun preparing contingency plans for that eventuality.
A number of global tech giants in the UAE – including Zoho, Avaya and Microsoft – have reported being flooded with requests from companies that have had to adjust their day-to-day operations. All three companies have opted to provide tools free for institutional customers.
Employees returning from overseas trips have also been directed to stay at home until it is proven that they are not infected. In such cases, employees will receive their full salary and be allowed to work from home.
Separatelly, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHaP) on Friday called on all senior members of the public to remain at home and keep away from crowded places as a precautionary measure to minimise coronavirus spread.
MoHaP also urged all citizens, residents and families to take all precautionary hygiene measures to ensure their safety and protection. This includes washing hands with soap and clean water, and covering mouth and nose when sneezing, to minimise spread of germs and infections.
"The Ministry, under the directives of UAE leadership, is stepping up all efforts to ensure public safety. This is facilitated by a strong healthcare system dedicated ensure public safety and protection that is in line with the World Health Organisation," said the ministry in a statement.