COVID19: How the UAE Media Works Remotely

Working digitally from home in Dubai on March 25, 2020. Tarek Ghanem.  

As the spread of the COVID-19 virus continues, with a noticeable increase in cases, some media companies in the United Arab Emirates — such as Al Aan TV, Bloomberg Alsharq, and Alhurra — have taken a number of sanitary precautionary measures. For example, they carry out daily examinations to measure the body temperature of employees upon arrival to the office. They are also trying to send more employees to work from home to reduce crowded offices, when possible.   

Zee Entertainment Middle East, which is located in Dubai Media City, asked all their employees to work remotely after shipping them their work desktops home. Additionally, they created an electronic system and server that accommodates files and documents exchanged remotely. 

“The decision to work remotely was enforced to protect all the employees as their safety is the company’s only concern,” Dina Almansi, director of the multimedia editing department at Zee, said in an exclusive interview. “After sending the employees to work from home, on March 15, 2020, a noticeable trend of increased efficiency and productivity was observed,” she said. 

Taghrid Tayib, Zee multimedia editor, agrees with that. “Working remotely is very comfortable and enjoyable, and the company constantly communicates with us and all managers to keep us connected and informed,” she said in a phone interview.

Bloomberg Alsharq decided to send about 100 employees to work from home. “This is due to the fact that the TV channel has not launched yet, and tremendous work is needed to have a successful start. Therefore, the company is trying to create a balance between the general situation that threatens the health of employees and its goal of the launch,” said field journalist Dina Fayyad. She explained that the company sent the majority of employees to work from home, while some managers were asked to continue to go to the office as this was necessary to make sure work continued uninterrupted. 

Rama Hudhaifa, a documentary film producer, said that she had been working with the Middle East team to produce a new documentary that was meant to be shot outside the country when the coronavirus outbreak started. After flights were canceled, “the documentary department had to stop working on the project, and instead work on new ideas that can be carried out during the current situation,” Hudhaifa said. She explained that she now works from home to “write new ideas, do research while ensuring connections are maintained with all members of the department.” 

It is important to note that COVID-19 is continuing to spread and that it is essential for everyone to abide by all government decisions. The U.A.E. is making great efforts to limit the virus’ spread, control it, treat the injured immediately and isolate them. All this is done in the hope to maintain everyone’s safety and to prevent further damage to the economy.  

Translated by: Farah Mohamed  

Edited by: Raseel Amr 


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