Dubai: She had been taking work home for 16 years and a natural outcome of that was the curiosity to explore work-life integration and its prevalence in the UAE. Middlesex University Dubai’s MBA student, Lakshmi Nair, an Indian expatriate, took on the topic of ‘Leaveism,’ a recently coined concept that refers to the melding of work life and off time in an individual’s life and published a study that explains employee trends in the UAE.
The study fetched her the Parasuraman Service Excellence Award, established by the Hamdan Bin Mohammad Smart University (HBMSU), to recognise and reward original theoretical and empirical research in the Middle East that focuses on dimensions of service excellence.
I have been personally guilty of carrying work home and working over weekends ... not knowing where to draw the line.”-Lakshmi Nair | Research student
I have been personally guilty of carrying work home and working over weekends ... not knowing where to draw the line.”
- Lakshmi Nair, Research student
Her research, which fulfils the requirements for her MBA degree, explored different aspects of Leaveism, which among other things describes employees who utilise their personal time to do office work — mainly due to overload.
While earlier studies around the world have shown that such behaviours can adversely impact on employee well-being, health and performance, Nair’s study included 506 participants to further understand the trends in the UAE.
“I chanced upon the topic while looking into HR practices of companies that have won prestigious business excellence awards like the Dubai Quality Award and Dubai Human Development Award, which are run by the Dubai Excellence Department at Dubai Economic Department, now Dubai Economy,” said Nair.
Another reason that led her to focus on Leaveism was her personal experience. “I have been personally guilty of carrying work home and working over weekends many times. Like most UAE residents I spoke to during the course of my research, I have also struggled often not knowing where to draw the line between work and personal life,” said Nair. Nair told Gulf News she believes the award, along with the research, will help bolster her career, and it has already helped garner much interest in this topic. She has been receiving queries on the implications of Leaveism, Flexible Work Practices (FWP) and work-life integration.
“I hope this will generate more awareness; and more and more companies will take an active interest in implementing steps that can help employees in working smarter rather than longer, and experiment more with flexible work practices as it clearly increases motivation and commitment,” said Nair.