VMware study finds that remote work is no longer a perk in the UAE

New research has revealed a 48% increase in the proportion of employees in the UAE who see remote working as a prerequisite rather than a perk, according to a new global study conducted by VMware.

Kristine Dahl Steidel, vice president, EUC EMEA, VMware

Almost two thirds (62%) of UAE respondents recognise that their organisation is realising the benefits of remote work and can’t go back to the way they used to be – yet there is a concern that company leadership and management are not putting in the work to adapt in offering their employees greater choice and flexibility.

“The challenges in the past six months have forced businesses to quickly adapt to new working practices where ‘work’ doesn’t equal ‘the office.’ The future of work has arrived in the form of a distributed workforce, bringing with it, tangible business benefits, from productivity and employee morale, to greater collaboration and enhanced recruitment opportunities,” said Kristine Dahl Steidel, vice president, EUC EMEA, VMware. “And with this digital foundation companies need to instil the right culture and leadership approach to create a new way of work. The digital workspace solutions that enable distributed workforces to be collaborative, engaged, visible and productive have already helped thousands of businesses and millions of employees – and VMware is continuing to innovate.”

In the UAE, more than four in ten (43%) decision-makers surveyed worry their team won’t stay on task when working remotely. Almost a quarter (24%) also feel their boardroom culture discourages remote working, and three quarters (65%) feel more pressure to be online outside of normal working hours. These factors indicate a need for a top-down shakeup of traditional management thinking and practices.

This is despite the clear business and employee benefits of flexible working, including organizations being able to capitalize on more diverse talent and skillset pools across the world. Since working remotely, 92% of employees surveyed in the UAE believe personal connections with colleagues have improved, 77% feel more empowered to speak up in video conference meetings, and 70% say their stress levels have improved. Employee morale (30%) and productivity (31%) have seen an increase. Furthermore, in the UAE, 76% say recruitment of top-tier talent has been made easier, specifically for working parents (94%) and minority candidates (83%). When it comes to generating new ideas, almost three quarters (75%) agree that innovation is coming from more places within the organisation than before.

IT is no longer thought to be an inhibitor to distributed working practices, where employees can work from headquarters, a local office, home, on the move or a combination of locations, as standard—with just over a third (35%) of those surveyed in the UAE believing that IT is not equipped to manage a remote workforce.

At VMworld last month, VMware announced VMware Future Ready Workforce solutions to provide exceptional workforce experiences, end-to-end Zero Trust security controls, and simplified management. The Future Ready Workforce solutions combine VMware Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), Digital Workspace and Endpoint Security capabilities to deliver any application from any cloud onto any device, so organisations can unlock the value of this holistic approach – enabling powerful workforce experiences, no matter where one is working.