UAE Leads a Global Trend & Introduces a 4-Day Work Week

Following 8 other countries around the world who’ve reported higher productivity with this working model, UAE emirates Sharjah officially makes it law.

Following the nod from a hugely successful trial in Britain where the 4-day workweek was implemented in 2022, Sharjah has officially made the 3-day weekend and 4-day work week part of its rules and regulations. Last year the UAE had cut its work week to four and a half days, and while there were doubts about productivity, reports have shown higher productivity and happiness within the workplace. The initiative also improved overall employee attendance. 

The trend is sparking interest and adoption around the world, especially after Britain introduced it and hailed it as a “breakthrough” and something they’ve chosen to keep long term, although the Emirates are the first country in the world to make it a mandatory law. This may not quite measure up to British economist John Keynes’ 1930s production that workers would do a 15-hour week which would be the fruit of mass automation, but with the change in the culture of traditional working in the office models since COVID being redefined, change is afoot. 

From savings costs and employee well-being, there’s a number of reasons as to why both remote working and shorter working hours are becoming the norm – or at the very last conversations are being had about potential change. France introduced a landmark 35-hour working week (vive la France!) since 2000, although this is in the minority compared to the working conditions globally, which are characterised by long hours and high stress working environments. 

Want to know where else in the world has introduced some epic changes?


61 companies or worked an average of 34 hours across four days in 2022 on their existing salary, and of those 56 companies (92%) chose to continue with the same format, 18 of them permanently. 

2. Spain

The left-wing government introduced a project in December to help SMEs cut the working week by half a day without reducing salaries, with the aim of increasing productivity. Their telecom leader Telefonica offered its employees a four-day week with a 12% pay cut.

3. Italy

Sanpaolo, Italy’s biggest bank, offered staff the option to work only four days per week on the same salary from January 2023, which was the first move like this from a major Italian enterprise. 

4. Pakistan

With view to saving on fuel bills, authorities in Pakistan last June included provisions for shorter working hours in a huge energy conservation plan.

5. Germany

A pay day deal was agreed last April with thousands of staff at Germany’s public sector banks, which also included a one-hour reduction to a 38-hour working week from 2024. Germany has been a pioneer of these initiatives, either as part of wage negotiations or to avoid mass redundancies in times of economic hardship. 

6. Chile

Santiago career services firm People&Partners was among one of the first firms to adopt the four-day work week curing the pandemic. It said it was inspired to make the move after Chile’s mass protests in 2019, followed by economic hardships from the pandemic, took a toll on its employees.

7. Nordics

The four-day work week has already been introduced in Denmark and Iceland, and travel company Nordic Visitor (which has offices in Iceland, Scotland, and Sweden), reduced the working hours from 40 to 35, which resulted in a rise in employee satisfaction, fewer sick days, and bigger profits. 

8. New Zealand

Estate planning company Perpetual Guardian experimented with  four-day week in 2018 and later made it permanent, citing rising productivity and lower absenteeism. Consumer giant Unilever has also experimented with a four-day working week for local staff.

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