Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University: ‘Remote work is a sustainable option’

HE Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, Chancellor of Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University

UAE: Remote working as a human resource policy is a sustainable option which may help organizations keep pace with the trends and needs of the future, according to the Hamdan bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU), following the findings of a survey study it conducted recently.

Researchers of the study provided several recommendations, notably the need to prepare comprehensive and integrated policies that will lay the foundations for remote working and create a culture of positivity to stimulate productivity and sustain excellence. They have also suggested the significance of establishing policies to enhance employee welfare and improve internal audit processes to ensure the highest levels of quality of work.

The study is a major initiative focusing on examining the present state of remote working as well as the future trends. This new work model has proved to be successful in helping businesses achieve sustainability, production continuity, reduce costs, increase employees’ loyalty to their jobs, and enhance work-life balance – which all positively contribute to the happiness of individuals and the welfare of societies.

HE Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, Chancellor of Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University, said: “Engaging in in-depth research in the future is an important aspect of developing the ideal human resource policies and procedures to effectively manage remote working. It will help ensure companies to attain the highest levels of efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity, and properly assess the work output in a fair manner and thereby determine the appropriate compensation, incentives, and rewards. We at HBMSU take the responsibility of supporting significant practical research that explore innovative concepts that bring about positive change and tap all capabilities which will enable the human energy to take part in building a better future. We remain firmly committed to supporting scientific research and instilling a culture of innovation, creativity, and technology to enable educational and teaching competencies optimize the value of remote work model and adopt it to provide quality education for all using the latest technologies”

Professor Nabil Baydoun, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, HBMSU said: “Our survey-based research came at an important time when it has become imperative for organizations today to restructure their work systems using innovation and technology to keep pace with the rapid global changes that impose a completely new reality. The study found that despite remote working being considered as more productive, many organizations from the public and private sectors around the world are still not ready to adopt this new model. In this light, we are directing our efforts to raise awareness about the value of remote work model, highlighting the experiences of the UAE in terms of transforming challenges into opportunities especially during the pandemic through the use of integrated systems and technological infrastructure. This has been achieved through the wise vision of our leaders who have emphasized smart transformation as a strategic priority, not only to keep pace with changes, but also to fully prepare in anticipation of the future.”

Professor Ahmed Ankit, Dean of Research and Doctoral Studies, HBMSU, commented: “This new investigative research conducted by 10 researchers of Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University was notable for its fact findings and objectivity which the University upholds as part of its commitment to instilling a culture of scientific research, technology and innovation to have a positive impact on the United Arab Emirates society. This is a basic pillar in our efforts to move forward and transform the learning system, keeping pace with technological development. We are keen to spread awareness about the results of our research regarding the advantages of remote working which may benefit government and private entities alike. The research further highlights key recommendation to potential challenges. These recommendations if adopted, may help promote a flexible and integrated work environment that stimulate productivity, innovation, and excellence. For our part, we will continue our relentless efforts to integrate the latest scientific research methodologies as a key tool to support the development of vital sectors in the UAE and the region. We remain committed to lead the process of knowledge creation in the Arab world through innovative applied and contextualized research studies in various fields, including e-learning, total quality management, and health care management.”

Objective Research

HBMSU used in its empirical research, which was implemented with the support of His Excellency Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, Chancellor of HBMSU, the latest scientific research tools. This is in line with the university’s commitment to promote research excellence in forecasting the future and make the best use of technology and innovation to transform education practices. Such efforts are deemed fundamental in bringing about positive change in various economic sectors which contribute to attaining comprehensive and sustainable development in the 21st century.

The study concluded with key recommendations, identifying the relevant best practices in remote work. It proposed the importance of having a designated and specific work areas to enhance employee morale, creating boundaries between work and personal life, developing a time frame consistent with a regular work schedule. It also suggested the importance of preparing and planning the idea work setup and ensuring constant communication between employees within a positive and stimulating environment to enhance productivity, innovation, and more.

Remote work: Advantages and challenges

The research study also highlighted the key advantages of remote working such as providing enormous opportunities and unlimited prospects for government entities and private companies, emphasizing that inclusiveness, responsiveness, innovative performance, and work-life balance are the pillars of success.

The study also found that remote work led to many positive outcomes such as achieving business sustainability, enhancing productivity, and reducing costs. It also helped improve the flexibility and job satisfaction, leading to a better balance between personal and professional life while strengthening a culture of inclusiveness. Such practices promote diversity as well in the work environment and encourage the employing of people of determination. Furthermore, the study revealed how remote working model supports companies in achieving their environmental sustainability goals, considering its contribution in reducing employee mobility, thus lesser fuel, and energy consumption, and thereby cutting carbon emissions.

The survey also pointed to the challenges that hinder the optimal implementation of remote working in the Arab world and at the international level, especially about digital infrastructure. It highlighted the main concerns inhibiting employers to successfully implement the new system such as the limited direct supervision of employees by senior management and the poor communication among the work team which could negatively impact the completion of the required tasks, as well as the longer time required to solve sudden issues.

The survey findings also indicated that technological challenges could impede the success of remote working such as cyber security, smart transformation, and stability of power sources of employees working in remote area, which can directly affect the quality of communication and fast access to the internet. Other negative aspects associated with remote working include the increase in workload, social isolation, distraction, loneliness, and declining levels of cooperation among employees.

HBMSU discussed the results and outputs of the in-depth research during a recent special webinar titled, ‘Is remote working here to stay? Opportunities, advantages, and challenges’. The webinar was held in line with its commitment as a leading scientific and knowledge hub to advance the higher education at local, regional, and global levels, by enriching knowledge and raising awareness on pioneering experiences and best practices.

The webinar witnessed the participation of several officials including Dr. Omyma Shehata, Faculty Member -School of Business and Quality Management at HBMSU; Dr. Al Ounoud Mohamed Salman, Director of Quality Improvement Office, Dubai Hospital, Dubai Health Authority; and Nassim Abed, Founder and General Manager of Nexcellence LLC.  The discussion was moderated by Noora Al Zaabi, Assistant Manager for Emiratization at RAKBANK.