Management consultancy Oliver Wyman expects the COVID-19 pandemic to have a lasting effect on the future of work, as remote working and virtual collaboration will increase in Dubai and the Gulf countries, following the crisis. According to Jeff Youssef, Partner, Public Sector at Oliver Wyman, remote working could be adopted more widely in the economic recovery period and even on a sustained basis, as it provides cost efficiencies to businesses in terms of office space and greater time efficiency, removing commuting time. These cost benefits will help fundamentally soften the impact of the pandemic on businesses when the economic upturn begins.
When an organisation wants to tackle a complex problem or have an important discussion, the default is to get the relevant people together in the same room. The COVID-19 outbreak has fundamentally challenged this way of working, from companies imposing travel restrictions on their employees or limiting the size of meetings, to workers self-isolating after returning from affected regions.
As part of the precautionary measures being issued by the UAE authorities to safeguard the health and wellbeing of its citizens and residents, working from home will be a mandatory requirement for most professionals and workers across public and private sector organisations. From 29 March 2020, government entities moved to a 100% remote work system following guidance issued by Dubai Executive Council.
The COVID-19 outbreak has fundamentally challenged this way of working, from companies imposing travel restrictions on their employees or limiting the size of meetings, to workers self-isolating.
To adapt to the evolving situation, companies and governments are placing more resources into ensuring their sophisticated technological infrastructure can ensure business continuity in light of employee travel restrictions, workers in self-isolation and staying at home to comply with government directives. The rapid increase in working population who are confined to their homes has resulted in a surge in demand for technology solutions and cyber security that supports remote working. This includes teleconferencing software and Virtual Private Networks to protect networks and ensure seamless connectivity for the thousands of professionals working from home.
The Middle East and markets around the world are facing growing macroeconomic uncertainty. As the world gets to grips with the COVID-19 pandemic, three billion people in paid employment worldwide have a crucial role to play in stopping COVID-19 and reducing its impact on society. Businesses have since developed contingency and continuity plans as governments around the world scramble to approve stimulus packages.
The outbreak has depressed global financial markets and had severe implications on trade, supply chains, and economies globally, subsequently deteriorating cash flow in sectors most impacted by the outbreak such as travel, tourism and hospitality.