Paradigm Shift of Work and the Workplace amid the Pandemic: An Exploratory Study in the UAE

Mouza A.L. Neyadi, Kheira Anissa Tabet Aoul

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The conventional and long-established workplace, with its working modalities may be drastically challenged, more than any other building type, following the disruptive and instant changes imposed by the recent global pandemic. The subsequent measures taken resulted in a complete disruption to the office employee experience. All indicators show that the pandemic is likely to change or accelerate the new working models, but it may also inspire technological advances related to the health and satisfaction of building occupants. This research aims to explore and identify the impacts of the pandemic on the workplace with a focus on the users' concerns, experiences, satisfaction, and expectations. The main purpose is to investigate how the pandemic may be shifting the working model and what may be its implications on workplace design. A survey was designed to explore three main aspects. First, the employees' concerns and fears about returning to the workplace, second, the impact of the pandemic on the work model, and third, the participants' expectations for the future of office design and layout. The survey was carried in November 2020 with 68 employees of a UAE government ministry in Abu Dhabi. The results showed that the main concerns of the participants were related to the health implications on their families and themselves. Over half of the survey respondents preferred a mixed working mode (57%), or even working fully from home (26%). The respondents indicated that they remained more or equally productive while working from home. Interaction and socializing with peers were the most missed workplace activities. In terms of office layout, an increased distance between workstations was preferred by over 57%, while 38% favored work in individual offices. The outcomes indicate a critical need to revise the current work models and explore the possible shift to a hybrid home-office work that ultimately will incite drawing new guidelines for office design.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationZEMCH 2021 - 8th Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Conference, Proceedings
EditorsKheira Anissa Tabet Aoul, Mohammed Tariq Shafiq, Daniel Efurosibina Attoye
PublisherZEMCH Network
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9789948310006
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event8th Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Conference, ZEMCH 2021 - Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Duration: Oct 26 2021Oct 28 2021

Publication series

NameZEMCH International Conference
ISSN (Electronic)2652-2926


Conference8th Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Conference, ZEMCH 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited Arab Emirates


  • Concerns
  • Employee
  • Office
  • Pandemic
  • UAE
  • User satisfaction
  • Work model
  • Workplace

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Building and Construction
  • Architecture
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Computer Science Applications


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