Covid-19 impact: How people in the UAE adopted new habits
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Covid-19 impact: How people in the UAE adopted new habits

Covid-19 impact: How people in the UAE adopted new habits

If remote working is here to stay, holding onto sacrosanct novelties may just be the wise thing to do

The months that followed the first appearance of the Covid19 strain early last year saw the world transform in more ways than one – individuals and institutions grappled with new ways of functioning; companies and industries made valiant efforts to stay afloat; and governments made several policy and structural changes to navigate the precarious situation.

With the Covid-19 vaccination now available globally, there is hope that the spread of the contagion will be stemmed. However, the crisis brought on by the coronavirus has led to a compelling call for significant – and possibly permanent  behavioural shifts. Many people took the pandemic as a cue to introduce several changes, hold on to novelties they discovered in recent months and step out of their comfort zones.

A recent survey conducted by UAE-based Taqeef and AC manufacturer Midea revealed that 67 per cent of respondents in the UAE believe the pandemic pushed them out of their comfort zones. Consequently, 77 per cent have become more cost-conscious, while 79 per cent and 82 per cent have turned more environmentally and health-aware, respectively, the survey, which polled 1,000 respondents aged between 18 to 40 years, revealed.

When quizzed on what constitutes ‘ultimate comfort’, 62 per cent of the respondents selected using the internet for sourcing information, followed by spending time with kith and kin (60 per cent), relaxing and taking it easy on weekends (60 per cent) and same-day delivery of online shopping items (41 per cent).

Meanwhile, people working out of homes during the Covid-19 pandemic unearthed treats they now wish to hold on to. Employees in the UAE favoured novelties which include weekday lie-ins (35 per cent), binge-watching Netflix (33 per cent) and working outdoors (32 per cent), a study by cybersecurity company Kaspersky, recording the behaviours of 8,076 employees of small-to-medium businesses across several countries worldwide, revealed.

As dining tables transitioned into workstations as part of remote working during the pandemic, people also changed their habits with 48 per cent attesting that they became used to working in comfortable attires and would like it to be the norm going forward, the Kaspersky study suggested.

WHAT LIES AHEAD?
Besides personal transition, the pandemic also brought forth some professional shifts with a large number of employers greatly valuing human capital and the need for reskilling and upskilling. The future of work has already arrived for many of the online white-collar employees; a staggering 84 per cent of employers  are set to swiftly digitalise their working processes, with the potential to transition 44 per cent of their workforce to function remotely, a report by the World Economic Forum suggests.

“To address concerns about productivity and wellbeing, about one-third of all employers expect to also take steps to create a sense of community, connection and belonging among employees through digital tools, and to tackle the well-being challenges posed by the shift to remote work,” the report adds.

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