The State of Remote Work in MENA
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to make significant changes to the way we lead our lives and the way we do business. In terms of working habits and practices, remote work has become one of the most commonly implemented ways to minimize employee contact. In fact, in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), remote working has been increasing in popularity for years.
And, by the looks of things, this trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon—even when the pandemic finally comes to an end. With that in mind, this article will explore where remote work in the region currently stands, as well as possible trends for the future.
What We Expect to See Over the Next Few Years
In March 2020, the UAE government asked employees to work from home as a method of limiting the spread of the novel coronavirus. In August, it was announced that some female government employees with children in Abu Dhabi and Dubai could choose whether or not to work from home. It’s clear that MENA businesses are becoming more and more open to the concept of remote working. A study in Saudi Arabia showed that remote working has been so successful for so many businesses that it will inevitably become a long-term system.
In 2018, a study revealed that 79% of MENA workers actually prefer working for businesses that offer this type of working flexibility. With more and more employers finding that remote working is a system that works for their business, and more and more employees discovering the benefits of having flexibility in terms of location and hours, we think it’s safe to say that MENA businesses will see a steady increase in remote working.
Why Remote Work Is a Good Fit for MENA Businesses
There are several reasons why adopting remote working—and the sooner, the better—can be a game-changer for MENA businesses in the near future. Here are five key ways it can benefit you.
Attract the best employees
MENA employees are becoming increasingly interested in working at a business that offers the flexibility of remote working. This year, COVID-19 has meant that a huge number of people have had the chance to experience what life without the daily trip to the office could be like, so it’s likely that even more people will make remote working a top priority when looking for a new job. If your business offers remote working as an option, you’ll find that a much higher number of excellent candidates are interested in working with you.
Create a healthy work-life balance
Studies have shown that remote working can lead to a healthier work-life balance. When you encourage your employees to prioritize their personal lives along with their work lives, you’ll find that they become more productive and more content in their roles. This means better results and less employee turnover for you.
Support a fully-functioning remote workforce with cloud-based technology
Luckily, technology can completely support a remote workforce. Cloud-based systems enable file-sharing, digital collaborations, video conferencing, and much more. As long as your employees have a stable WiFi connection and a laptop, they should be able to perform their duties from home without any interruption or inconvenience.
Utilize remote contractors for odd jobs
If you have a remote system in place, you’ll open yourself up to the possibility of hiring a few fully remote freelancers and contractors. This means that when you have an odd coding or design job, you won’t have to spend money on hiring a new full-time employee. Plus, with a cloud-based payroll system, adding these employees to your workforce won’t have to be a hassle for you or your payroll team.
Save money on office space
Imagine how much you’d save if you didn’t have to pay rent on that beautiful, big office space. Of course, most companies will want to keep an office of some sort, even if they implement remote working for the majority of their employees. Nevertheless, if you increase remote working, you will definitely be able to downsize!
How to Implement a Remote Working System for Your Business
Careful implementation of a few elements before remote work begins can help you lay the groundwork for a successful remote team.
Streamline your digital communications systems
First things first, you’ll need to invest in a communications and file sharing system so your employees can switch between the office and home without experiencing any disruptions to their work.
Set ground rules and protocols
You’ll also need to ensure that your employees understand how the new remote working system will work. Some companies may choose to track their employees’ output via a digital system, as some employers may worry about employees being too relaxed when they aren’t supervised.
Make sure your technical systems work before you send everyone home!
Finally, make sure you run a few tests and practice runs before sending everyone home so you can iron out any technical kinks before they start work from their new home offices!
The Bottom Line
Introducing remote work into your business isn’t anything to be afraid of. With more and more employees preferring to work at a company with flexible working systems in place, offering remote working options can improve your workforce’s contentment, reduce your turnover, and make you more competitive.
Plus, with cloud-based technology becoming increasingly advanced and intuitive, making the transition has never been easier for MENA businesses. The time to embrace remote working is now!
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