Flexibility has been a hot topic in 21st century office culture. In February, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer controversially curtailed her employees’ option of working from home, thinking that the practice impacted their productivity. But where is that sweet spot where flexibility in the office meets maximum productivity? This debate has now reached the Gulf.
In Qatar, a recent study from YouGov, on behalf of multinational software company Citrix, found that 84% of the country’s employees believe they could be more productive if they were allowed more flexibility in their working hours. Unsurprisingly, company executives do not necessarily share the same view: the study reveals that only 23% of companies in Qatar encourage their employees to work anywhere, using any device. 36% of companies in Qatar still think that performing work tasks outside the workplace is counter-productive.
Information security remains a huge concern for companies (and individuals) in the Middle East as a whole, and in Qatar in particular, which has slowed the rate of adoption of cloud and remote computing services. 29% of companies included in the study attributed their lack of interest in remote computing to a lack of sufficient information security measures.
But more companies in Qatar are indeed adopting, or are looking to adopt, more flexible work schedules for their employees; this is especially true for startups. 25% of companies in the study showed interest in exploring the positive effects of flexible working hours on productivity and efficiency.
Diana Al-Dajani, a Qatari entrepreneur and the owner of electronic educational game manufacturer eduTechnoz, believes that “flexibility in working hours and places gives employees better control of their work life, which in turn makes them happier employees. This translates into better performance, positive energy, and higher retention rates.”
Many young entrepreneurs share the same vision as Al-Dajani. As long as productivity and efficiency are maintained, flexibility is a sign of trust from the company towards its employees. As new companies continue to sprout up across Qatar, perhaps workplace flexibility will increase as well.
Would you be more productive with a flexible schedule? Does your employer offer any options for a flexible work environment?