71% UAE employees prefer office over work from home, reveals survey

by Tanvir Awan
Published: Updated:
UAE is world’s second hardest working country, shows survey

The Gensler Research Institute has announced the findings from its Global Workplace Survey 2024, offering fresh insights into the future of workplace.

Here are the survey’s findings.

  • Only 49% of people work from the office, however, 71% say they need to be in the workplace to maximize their individual and team’s productivity.
  • With “to focus on my work” cited as the highest ranked reason to be back in the office.
  • The most engaged workers value the workplace for the learning, networking and socializing opportunities:
  • UAE workers are the second most engaged of the 15 countries surveyed, spending as much as 62% of their time working with others, learning or socializing.
  • At the individual level, the most engaged employees prioritize socializing and learning, while strong teams seek in-office connections, and innovative companies thrive on collaboration, both in-person and out of the office.
  • The survey shows just 17% of the UAE workforce still work from home, with 49% being back in the office while the other 66% work from coworking spaces, third spaces or on site at client offices. This is a clear reflection of the volume of the UAE’s SME workforce. SME’s make up more than 94% of companies in the UAE and 86% of the private sector workforce.

Global Workplace Survey 2024

Gensler surveyed more than 16,000 office workers across 15 countries, and ten industries, with The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and The United Arab Emirates (UAE) representing the Middle East markets. This global study examines top performers at individual, team, and organizational levels, and highlights what comprises a high-performing workplace within and beyond the office, to include findings at the scale of the building and neighborhood which have been shown to affect performance.

Fifty Economic Plan

The Ministry of Economy in the UAE has launched the Fifty Economic Plan for building a future-focused economy. The strategy includes five key pillars: integrated economy, entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprise (SME), tourism, foreign direct investment and exports, and attracting and retaining talent. The plan aims to achieve a quantum leap in the national economy by the year 2030 and support GDP growth by creating a flourishing local business environment and enabling UAE companies to excel and lead worldwide.

“It’s time to redefine workplaces for the next evolution of work. Organizations and leaders need to shift their thinking beyond just returning to the office and instead focus on the opportunity to design high-performing spaces for people to work at their best,” said Janet Pogue McLaurin, Global Director of Workplace Research at Gensler.

Jose Faine, Workplace Design Director, Principal, Middle East added: “As designers we don’t just look to end our process at design stage, our goal is to design for impact beyond this and build value and longevity for our clients. Tapping into local government initiatives means we can substantiate our thought processes. It’s great to see the results of our Global Workplace reflect the recent work we have been doing on projects like Riyad Bank and even for older projects such as the VISA HQ in Dubai. Gensler remains steadfast in its support of global talent acquisition, high performance and competitive advantage for its clients in the region.”

The Gensler Research Institute conducted an anonymous, panel-based survey of over 16,000 full-time global office workers across 15 countries including US, Mexico, Canada, UK, Germany, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the Philippines.

Respondents were distributed across 10 client industries and represented a broad cross-section of company sizes, roles, ages, and geographies. The survey was fielded between October 31, 2023, and January 29, 2024. Respondents excluded full-time remote workers.


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