The United Arab Emirates is changing its weekend to Saturday and Sunday

A man walks in Dubai.
A man walks in Dubai. Francois Nel/Getty Images

The United Arab Emirates is switching things up in 2022.

The government announced on Tuesday that beginning Jan. 1, weekends will run from Friday afternoon to Sunday. Currently, the UAE has a Friday to Saturday weekend. The change is being enacted to "boost productivity and improve work-life balance," the government said.

The weekend will begin on Friday afternoon so Muslims can attend prayers, and people will have the opportunity to work from home in the morning, the government said. The new schedule is for members of the public sector, with private companies able to decide whether to go along with the change.

"From an economic perspective, the new working week will better align the UAE with global markets, reflecting the country's strategic status on the global economic map," the UAE government said in a statement published by state news agency WAM. "It will ensure smooth financial, trade, and economic transactions with countries that follow a Saturday/Sunday weekend, facilitating stronger international business links and opportunities for thousands of UAE-based and multinational companies."

The Washington Post notes that amid the pandemic, several countries have started trying out four-day work weeks, including Spain and Japan.

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