Among the six GCC countries, the UAE has been identified as the most conducive to remote work, as revealed by a study. One-fifth of professionals in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) benefit from some form of remote or hybrid work setup within their organizations, according to the latest research conducted by GulfTalent, a prominent online recruitment firm.

GulfTalent's study was undertaken through a survey involving 4,000 professionals and 1,000 managers located in the region. It was observed that the most prevalent form of remote work is 2 days per week from home and 3 days at the workplace. Start-up companies and multinational corporations are at the forefront of implementing remote work, while larger local firms and government entities display the lowest adoption rates. Within various industries, IT and Advertising are particularly embracing of remote work, whereas Construction and Manufacturing exhibit the least inclination, primarily due to the nature of their operations.

Among the companies currently practicing hybrid work, one-third intend to expand their hybrid arrangements further, while 13 per cent are planning to reduce or potentially eliminate remote work entirely. When enquiring about employer motivations for allowing or disallowing remote work, the study found that companies facilitating remote work commonly cited reasons such as improved productivity, longer working hours, higher staff retention, and cost savings through reduced rental space.

On the other hand, organizations that did not permit remote work raised concerns about its adverse effects on collaboration, productivity, team bonding, and data confidentiality risks. Some also emphasized that certain roles necessitated physical presence and were impractical to perform remotely.

Productivity Impact: The survey revealed that remote work can enhance productivity when employees have a dedicated work space at home, reside more than an hour away from the office, and their tasks are predominantly individual in nature, requiring limited collaboration. Conversely, remote work may impede productivity for employees living in shared accommodations or with young children at home.

Hybrid workers with a separate workspace at home reported a net 36 per cent increase in productivity when working from home, whereas employees sharing a room with noisy occupants experienced a net 48 per cent decline in productivity when working from home. Work-life Balance: Hybrid workers expressed much greater satisfaction with their work-life balance compared to their office-based counterparts, particularly among those with lengthy commute times to work. Based on the survey findings, female employees are nearly twice as likely as male employees to work from home.

The study also highlighted that the majority of office-based employees would consider changing jobs if it allowed them to work partially from home. This includes 70 per cent who are willing to transition to a hybrid job without any pay raise, and an additional nine per cent who would make the switch even if it involved a salary reduction. The study concludes that GCC companies can utilize hybrid arrangements to enhance staff retention while alleviating the pressure for salary increments.