Corona Virus: 76 percent of remote workers in the Middle East...

  • Hussam Fazoula
  • BBC News Arabic

6 hours ago

Employee working from his office

picture released, Getty Images

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Coronavirus: Have the rules for hiring changed forever?

The end of 2021 looks significantly different from its first days, as the year started with a lot of hope, and expectations from heads of companies and business owners around the world that it will be a “year of returning to the office” and farewell to digital meetings.

And now the year ends in a state of anticipation and apprehension after the spread of the new Covid mutant or micron, will the work environment return or will the Corona epidemic change our methods of work forever?

The social distancing restrictions imposed by the Corona outbreak on almost all parts of the world, prompted companies and government institutions to search for ways to ensure the continuity of their business, such as communication programs and remote business management, and the hybrid work system (hyprid working), a system that combines the work of employees for days from the office. And other days from home or dividing employees into employees who must be present and others who work remotely.

Opinions differ regarding the work environment, there are those who prefer working from home and those who think that working from the office is more appropriate. But according to a survey conducted by bayt.com, a higher percentage of remote workers in the Middle East still prefer working from home, with 76 percent of those who participated expressing their satisfaction with their remote work and not working from home. They want to go back to work from the office.

Work from coffee shops

The BBC team interviewed a group of professionals and business owners while they were working in their traditional offices and alternative offices, which took the form of cafes and public places they chose to spend their day.

A female employee works from a coffee shop
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Cafes and public places chosen by employees to spend their working day.

Samar Jamal from Sudan said, “There is a good and harmful Lord,” as the dentist and founder of the “Home Education Society” organization sees that despite the great harm caused by the Corona epidemic, it prompted us to learn about many new tools and systems for work, and Samar sees that “the transformation To digital work, it was inevitably coming, only the pandemic brought it closer and moved us to keep pace with the times and technological development.” Thus, she prefers the beauty of remote work, as in her view it “reduces the cost, and is more available, as you can access from home with the push of a button, and reduces environmental pollution radically.”

Many studies agree with what Samar Gamal has suggested. According to a study conducted by the Global Workforce Analytics Organization ( (Global Work AnalyticsSimply halving the time people commute to work can reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions by 54 million tons per year.

While the facilitator Al-Murshid from Jordan prefers to work face-to-face and not through screens and video calls, she believes that “communication with body movements and facial movements is a human need” and the lack of this type of communication in the digital work environment has a negative impact on the employee’s psyche.

Randa Mushtaha from the UAE pointed out the importance of providing the possibility of working from home for women in the field of work, as she believes that the opportunity to work from home during the epidemic gave her more “a sense of safety and peace of mind.”

According to the results of a survey conducted by the organization “Women’s Rights” Rights of Women English that while the chances of working women being harassed in their workplaces have diminished, a new type of harassment has emerged through remote communication programs. About half of the participating women who were harassed in their offices confirmed that they continued to suffer online.

Meanwhile, Saad Badir from Tunisia said that having a suitable environment for working from home is a luxury that not everyone has. Also, more than 89% of respondents to the Bayt.com survey agree with this view, as they expect that Arab companies will start preferring employees who have the ability to work from home. They fear that the rules of Corona have caused the emergence of a new method for selecting employees that takes into account their ability to work from home and perhaps their remote communication skills.

Abdullah Al-Hayek, CEO of the Hayek Engineering Group in Lebanon, says in an interview with BBC Arabic from his company headquarters in Beirut, – which was filled with empty seats – that Corona’s rules had prompted him to abandon some employees, and the most affected of the workers were “those who have no experience.” Internet and remote communication.

empty office
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The office of Hayek Group for Engineering in Lebanon, which was filled with empty seats

Hayek then spoke about the Corona imposition of “a kind of need for elite employees” as managers find it difficult to deal with employees who “do not understand what is required quickly”, which greatly affected the old employees and gave the opportunity for younger employees and talents to emerge.

The CEO of Hayek Engineering Group, like many company owners, has adopted the “Isnad” system. OutsourcingIt is a system that has been widely used in recent times, and requires the dispensation of permanent employees in a company by contracting with external companies to carry out their work, for example, that one company assigns the task of customer service or operating systems to another without appointing permanent employees to carry out those tasks. Hayek believes that the attribution system has given him the opportunity to reach talented people who are geographically far from his company.

We are still waiting for the coming days to see if the new mutations of the Corona virus, such as Omicron, will affect the course of the current work environment, but the restrictions of Corona may have opened the way wide to a new work environment with different circumstances and accounts that change the work rules and the basis for selecting employees.

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