‘Always-on’ mentality increasing employee stress levels in the UAE

Recent research from Robert Half explores the rising stress levels in the UAE and how firms plan to avoid employee burnout.

  • Nearly two thirds (64%) of UAE businesses have reported cases of workplace burnout within their organisation

  • 70% of managers cited the ‘always-on’ mentality is increasing stress levels of their employees

Dubai, 6 December 2017 – New research by recruitment agency, Robert Half UAE has revealed that workplace burnout is an issue for nearly two thirds (64%) of businesses in the UAE. Workplace stress is highest among medium-sized businesses (74%), and lowest among small businesses (57%). Robert Half research into happiness in the workplace has shown that employee stress can be a drain on the organisation as well as the individual. Those that are burned out typically suffer from higher rates of absenteeism.

UAE managers were asked: “How common is employee burnout within your organisation?”


Company Size




Very common




Somewhat common




Somewhat uncommon




Very uncommon




Don't know




Source: Robert Half UAE, 2017

Gareth El Mettouri, Associate Director at Robert Half UAE, says: “Candidates are interested in purposeful careers and are looking for opportunities where they can achieve both a good work-life balance and career development. Businesses can successfully attract top performing talent in today’s market—irrespective of the skills shortage—if they adapt their approach.”

Sociologist and senior fellow, greater good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Christine Carter, says: “Managers need to realise that if they want their direct reports to fulfil their potential, it won’t be possible if they are stressed. And the way to reverse a stress response is to help induce positive emotions.”

Businesses say that they are currently implementing the promotion of a team-based environment (56%), encouraging time off (42%) and hiring more staff (42%) to help alleviate pressure.

UAE managers were asked: “Which, if any, of the following has your company implemented to prevent employee burnout?”

Promoting a team-based environment


Encouraging employees to take time off


Hiring permanent staff to alleviate pressure


Encouraging team-building activities/celebratory events


Reviewing / restructuring of job functions and tasks


Offering of flexible working / telecommuting options


Source: Robert Half Workplace Survey 2017

El Mettouri added: “Talent management is expected to be one of the three main areas of focus for businesses up until 2020. As businesses get underway with their workforce planning for next year and the year’s following, they should consider not only the skills and expertise they need, but also ensure their workforce remains productive and engaged at work and avoid burnout. ”

- ENDS -

Note to the editor

The annual study was developed by Robert Half UAE and is conducted by an independent research firm. The study is based on more than 200 interviews with hiring managers from companies across the UAE, with the results segmented by size, sector and geographic location.

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. We have once again been named to FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list and remains the top-ranked staffing firm (February 2020). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide, including the UAE, providing recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal, human resources and administration professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and jobseeker resources at roberthalf.ae