Workers and schoolchildren juggled work and research with weekly Muslim prayers on the primary ever working Friday within the United Arab Emirates because the Gulf nation formally switched to a Saturday-Sunday weekend.
Some grumbled on the change and companies have been cut up, with many shifting to the Western-style weekend however different personal companies sticking with Fridays and Saturdays, as in different Gulf states.
The weekly day of prayer has at all times been a free day within the UAE, which had beforehand noticed a Thursday-Friday weekend till 2006.
Nonetheless, mosques appeared busy as worshippers carrying prayer mats arrived as traditional, earlier than lots of them later headed again to the workplace.
“I would quite take (Friday) off,” mentioned 22-year-old Briton Rachel King, who works within the hospitality business and has been dwelling in Dubai for six months.
“That’s what everyone knows and love, having a Friday off and going to sure locations which are open and we may do issues. However now it’s going to be Saturday.”
The UAE made the shock announcement of the weekend swap for the general public sector in December because it grapples with rising competitors in worldwide enterprise from different Gulf nations, significantly Saudi Arabia.
Authorities our bodies and colleges will function four-and-a-half-days per week, closing at 12 pm on Fridays for a hard and fast prayer time of 1:15 pm, whereas the Muslim prayer schedule normally will depend on the place of the solar.
Out of 195 companies polled by human sources consultancy Mercer, solely 23 % have been making ready to comply with the four-and-a-half-day week, however greater than half would swap to Saturday-Sunday weekends.
“Fortunately I’ve the identical days off as my youngsters, however that is not the case for my husband,” mentioned Fati, who works in a world distribution firm, asking to not give her full title.
“He works for a multinational that hasn’t modified its schedule for the second. I hope they’ll do it rapidly, in any other case our household life will likely be ruined.”
‘Feels a bit bizarre’
Practically a 3rd of firms are fearful concerning the influence of being out of sync with different nations within the area, the Mercer ballot discovered.
“We work so much with Egypt and Saudi Arabia,” mentioned Rana, an worker of an occasions firm who mentioned a few of her groups must work on Sundays.
Dubai’s monetary district was unusually quiet on Friday with giant numbers working remotely, particularly at a time of rising Covid ranges when many youngsters are additionally doing on-line education.
“At this time is the primary working Friday, it feels a bit bizarre,” mentioned Ahmad Bilbisi, 34, a banking worker.
“It is sensible to me, not less than for the banking business. We at the moment are engaged on the identical day as everybody else on the earth.”
The brand new association was a significant speaking level on social media, with one Twitter person complaining “it simply feels so unsuitable”.
“My physique and thoughts have totally acclimatised to having Fridays off. I feel immediately goes to an extended laborious wrestle,” the tweet reads.
Sharjah, an emirate neighbouring Dubai, has discovered a easy resolution: mandating Friday, Saturday and Sunday as a three-day weekend.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)