7 in 10 UAE workers struggle with work-life balance due to tech

Survey shows it 'has become harder to separate work and personal time'

7 in 10 UAE workers struggle with work-life balance due to tech

Seven in 10 employees across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are struggling to maintain work-life balance because of technology, according to a new report.

In a survey among 1,000 individuals, communications consultancy duke+mir identified the impact of technology on people across UAE.

The results are “staggering,” said the firm, showing it “has become harder to separate work and personal time because of technology.”

The feeling was strongest among those earning between $5,500 and $11,000 a month and is more strongly felt by men (71%) than women (66%).

"People in the UAE are finding it very difficult to balance how they use technology, whether that is at work, at home or out and about with friends and family," said Jonathan Ivan-Duke, co-founder and partner at duke+mir, in a statement quoted by Khaleej Times.

"We are prioritising using our phones [over] people sitting right in front of us. This data shows we need to develop better ways to control our use of technology and perhaps learn to enjoy face-to-face interactions more."

Remote work and tech

The report's findings come as greater use of technology has been observed as more workplaces implement remote or hybrid work in response to the pandemic.

"But this study uncovers that seven out of 10 people identify the technology itself as one of the main culprits for disrupting work-life balance," the report said.

UAE workers are then urged to remember that downtime from computers and phones can bring about benefits, such as better sleep, awareness, and relationships, according to the report.

"Employers are seeing greater productivity from remote and hybrid work in the short term, but they must bear in mind the risks to their employees from overworking, such as burnout," the report added.

AI replacement

The report also found that more than half of the respondents are concerned that their jobs will be replaced by robots or artificial technology (AI).

Younger respondents are most concerned, with 66% of them thinking that advanced tech could make their skills and talent redundant.

The duke+mir report called these findings "quite unexpected."

"With such a strong focus from the UAE government on providing and protecting Emirati jobs both now and in the future, it's quite unexpected to see the youth and Emiratis of the UAE being the most concerned about future technological advancements.”

Concerns about AI replacing workers have been emerging as the technology advances. In a SkyNova study in 2021, 86% of HR professionals admit that it's possible their jobs could be replaced by AI in the future.

However, the study also concluded that automation does not work well for scenarios that need a "more sensitive or nuanced approach."

"Even though automation in some form seems inevitable in any industry, perhaps dealing with issues that could potentially put a company at risk is better left up to a well-trained human."

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