UAE residents say commute, long hours and sedentary working environment get them down

Daily battles with traffic, working weeks in excess of 50 hours and technology that lets office duties creep into home life – each will be familiar with staff across the UAE.

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ABU DHABI // Daily battles with traffic, working weeks in excess of 50 hours and technology that lets office duties creep into home life – each will be familiar with staff across the UAE.

The long journey to and from the workplace, racking up unpaid overtime and the urge, or necessity, to check work emails from home are, according to many employees, skewing the work-life balance and having a wearing effect on their health.

UAE gold spot trader Marwan Metwally is one such worker. He spends 90 minutes commuting to and from work each day, regularly puts in a 50-hour week and is among those who finds it taking a personal toll.

“On average, I spend 10 hours a day at my desk,” said the 42-year-old Egyptian, who works Monday to Friday. “I eat my lunch there and only take short breaks.

“I suffer lower back pain and I find it difficult to keep eating healthily.

“With the climate and lifestyle here – as opposed to Europe, where I could walk everywhere or use my bike – I also gained too much weight.

“There is a good quality of life here but it seems people are having a hard time enjoying it.”

Mr Metwally’s wife also faces a long working day, further affecting their time at home.

“She commutes to Dubai Academic City from our home in Al Reef [Abu Dhabi] every day,” he said. “The bright side is that at least here I can afford to hire a maid, freeing some of my time and my wife’s time to spend with our children before they go to bed.” More info

By   www.thenational.ae

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