Working From Home For Saudis is Becoming an Occupational Past-time

Published May 19th, 2020 - 07:08 GMT
A man passes through a self-sterilisation gate set up at an entrance of the Kaaba and the Grand Mosque, as a preventive measure amid the the COVID-19 pandemic during the Muslim month of Ramadan in the Saudi holy city of Mecca, on May 8, 2020. Saudi Authorities allowed for a limited number of worshippers to enter the Grand Mosque to perform prayers during Ramadan, amid unprecedented bans on family gatherings and mass prayers due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. STR / AFP
A man passes through a self-sterilisation gate set up at an entrance of the Kaaba and the Grand Mosque, as a preventive measure amid the the COVID-19 pandemic during the Muslim month of Ramadan in the Saudi holy city of Mecca, on May 8, 2020. Saudi Authorities allowed for a limited number of worshippers to enter the Grand Mosque to perform prayers during Ramadan, amid unprecedented bans on family gatherings and mass prayers due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. STR / AFP
Highlights
Saudis began working remotely on 18 March after the government issued a decision to shut down all sectors and impose working from home.

Quarantine at home has changed several cultures, notions, and convictions that would have otherwise been difficult to change had they not been necessary precautions under the current crisis. 

Even if these changes are temporary, they could be the beginning of a new post-Corona stage.

Saudi Arabians have spent more than two months in home quarantine, changing their sitting areas into temporary workspaces to work uninterrupted in several sectors and domains despite the challenges and obstacles that the pandemic has created.

Despite being short, this period of working “remotely” has changed ideas and convictions. After some thought that it was difficult to work remotely, another conviction surfaced that sees working remotely to be easier, saving both time and money across different sectors. This has opened a new transformative phase in the work environment in Saudi Arabia, especially after international companies issued decisions to convert to working remotely even after the pandemic ends.

Saudis began working remotely on 18 March after the government issued a decision to shut down all sectors and impose working from home.

Before that, in January, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development launched a remote working program that aimed to bridge the gap between employers and job seekers after the latter suffered from several obstacles in finding job opportunities. This program, however, was not large-scale but was limited to those who face transportation difficulties.

In this last period, meetings have shifted from offices and meeting rooms to remote meeting software in different sectors, including ministerial and large and small company meetings.

Rouaa al-Mehanna sees that most notable advantages of remote working are more flexibility and concentration, despite some managers feeling that completing one’s tasks outside of the workplace is like a vacation or leads to a lower quality of work which then leads to more pressure even after the eight-hour workday stipulated by Saudi labor laws is over.

These meetings have opened up primary themes for the future of the work sector after the coronavirus pandemic, especially that there is an ongoing experiment that is yet to end and has proven its high effectiveness in different sectors and jobs. This compels us to rethink the future of jobs and to change how we conduct them and how workspaces are organized, shrinking some offices while entirely getting rid of others. This may have several advantages, including saving time and effort, avoiding traffic, among others.

Also, there were clear implications on several sectors that were unable to convert to remote working and endure the crisis, leading to a decline in their productivity after their work teams were dispersed.

This article has been adapted from its original source.     


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