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08 October, 2005

Weekend weakness

Jordan switched in January 2000. Qatar made the change in August 2003. Now Bahrain is also proposing a Friday-Saturday weekend:

Proponents of this idea say that the synchronisation with the global weekend would improve family ties and strengthen Bahrain's relations with the international community.

"A synchronisation with the global weekend would increase our communication with the rest of the world by about 33 per cent. We will gain 182 hours of communication with the West and 102 hours with the East," said Bu Kamal, the chairman of the Economic and Financial Committee at the Council of Representatives.

Why, then, is there no similar proposal in the UAE, surely the biggest international business hub in the region, to have a weekend more coordinated with the rest of the world?

The situation as it stands is a sorry mess. Currently, Thursday and Friday are the official weekend. Most private sector companies take Friday and Saturday. As a result, many service sector firms and government departments are forced to stay open on Thursdays, meaning that staff have to work a five-and-a-half or six-day week. The most ludicrous situation is for expatriate schoolchildren. Private schools are forced to have a Thursday-Friday weekend, regardless of the fact that most parents are off Friday-Saturday, meaning parents and their children only share one day off.

Time for changing times.



Blogger pixelsonic said...

I prefer things the way they are, changing things over officially would only make things worse due to increased congestion IMHO.

The nice thing about the split weekend is that is spreads out the congestion a little plus it's possible to get personal business related things sorted out on a Thursday moring or Saturday with little hassle due to smaller lineups.

I would also argue that it's better for the economy as businesses get 3 days of increased footfall while shoppers get a better experience and thus can browse a little easier for marginally useful luxury stuff.

The family question is a little trickier but maybe it's better to have one quality day together plus one day of "quiet time" for parents and kids separately :)

I think Dubai defenitely has it right on this, with the exception being families with young children.

08 October, 2005 03:13  
Blogger Keef said...

I remember the kerfuffle when the Thursday/Friday weekend was made official. And rumours that we couldn't have Saturday because the Zionists had already bagged it.

But there is no question that it is a continuing headache for companies who have dealings with the rest of the world, ie most of them.

08 October, 2005 07:55  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

And rumours that we couldn't have Saturday because the Zionists had already bagged it.

Yeah, I've been told (reliably or not) that Saturdays is a no-no because it is the Jewish sabbath.

08 October, 2005 08:25  
Blogger Emirati said...

Things are changing actually, a family member who works in a government bank in Abu Dhabi reports that he can take saturday off if he take thu as a work day.

08 October, 2005 10:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Majority of the companies work 5and half days. Thursday is no more holiday. Thursday half day becomes full day work ..most of the times.

I feel that only about 20% of the private organisations work 5 days a week all 5 and half and 6.

08 October, 2005 10:22  
Blogger Brn said...

Take it for what it is worth, but I have been told by one of the upper level Emiratis here (UAE University) that this (change to Fri-Sat) is going to happen and fairly soon.

08 October, 2005 11:16  
Blogger Poshboy said...

Majority of companies we work with are a Friday Saturday affair... the only issue is with suppliers calling you on a saturday to ask questions about what they should do with printing a brochure a certain way or some other question.

I find the sunday working week start is very useful to give you a day advantage over Europe and US. And the guys in Europe US are used to our way of working with the Friday off.

Leave it as it is. Friday will always be the same. the company may be open 6 days a week but it is up to the employess to sort out if they do a Thursday or a Saturday off such the banker from Abu Dhabi.

Ok, so it sucks for those with children but then to be selfish I do not have kids and personally do not agree with the whole moving your young children half way round the world just because the father gets a job in Dubai. Might be hard on the kids not seeing the father all the time but this place is not the most real environment for children anyway.

I probably will be shot for that comment from people with kids so no offence to be taken please...

08 October, 2005 13:53  
Blogger Keef said...

Poshboy: ...personally do not agree with the whole moving your young children half way round the world just because the father gets a job in Dubai.

I probably will be shot for that comment from people with kids...

Consider yourself shot.

08 October, 2005 14:04  
Blogger El Sid said...

Don't forget the construction industry works five and a half days a week and is the main employer in the UAE. I don't care what days we have off as long as it's two but the UAE government will never allow construction workers two days off and whilst they have to work so do I.

08 October, 2005 14:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may be interested to know that Indonesia - the world's largest Muslim country - has a Sat - Sun weekend. Muslims are allowed time off for Friday afternoon prayers.
It seems to work well enough there.

08 October, 2005 15:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pakistan- a nation created purely for Muslims- also has Sat Sun as a weekend. I'd imagine the Thi/Fri weekend has nothing to do with anti-Zionism- just the fact that Thu which used to be a half day has now defaulted to a full day for those fortunate to have two days off. It's a nightmare for those that work with the rest of the world because you never really get a day off and are often expected to be 'ón call' on Thu/Fri.

08 October, 2005 17:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

poshboy: would you also object to moving the kids half way around the world if the MOTHER got a job here?

09 October, 2005 09:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I happen to agree with pixelsonic actually... as it is traffic is such a nightmare.. the current scenario at least lessens the traffic on thursdays and saturdays..( if one can call driving a distance of 15km in 1hour good driving ;)
anyways rather than this issue, i feel public holidays SHOULD be declared in advance !!!! the situation now is plainly ridiculous.. no one knows until just a day before whether the next day is a holiday or not... i mean.. how can anyone plan anything? the private sector as it is are shortchanged with regards to the number of holidays.. and during public / religious holidays the situation becomes farcical...

09 October, 2005 10:01  
Blogger black feline said...

a rather silly proposition..why not go home is 4 hours ahead of Dubai..can some smart alecs pls suggest they synchronize the rome do as the romans do pls..

09 October, 2005 14:41  
Blogger Poshboy said...

Anonymous... Sorry, next time I will say 'parent'.

11 October, 2005 16:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in arabic counties also week starting on sunday... if u have doubt check arabic week names... and arabic 1,2,3...

27 October, 2005 17:27  

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