Here We Start

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah, founder of Sail Publishing, a digital publishing house for online magazines and ebooks, and editor in chief of the Emirati Sail Magazine, an online magazine about community and culture written in English by Emirati columnists. Iman is a multi award winner in digital publishing, entrepreneurship, and literature. Iman has also completed the Leadership Strategies in Magazine Media Course in Yale University. Besides her work in publishing, she also lectures in Canadian University in Dubai.
Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Dear Sail Readers,

We finally publish today the third edition of Sail Magazine, hopefully bringing forward new ideas and entice inspiration amongst you.

In this edition, we start with “Think Aloud”, shedding some light on different angles of the fixed working hours scheme. This is followed by an interesting interview with a new shining star “Fatima Al Noaimi”, proving that age is not a stopper from following your ambitions and taking control of your life.

The new addition to this month is a column written by “Mohamed Al Jneibi”. Mohamed with his technology background approached us to contribute with his writings to Sail, which was welcomed directly after reading his article on dreams, hopes, and aspirations. I hope you also find the value we found in his writing.

Though Mohamed’s column may not be a regular column due to his occupation, this should also show you how you can contribute to this magazine with your thoughts and writings ;)

I look forward to reading your comments and discussions on the topics of this edition.

Enjoy the read!

Warm Regards,

Iman Ben Chaibah

The Development of Fixed Working Hours

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah, founder of Sail Publishing, a digital publishing house for online magazines and ebooks, and editor in chief of the Emirati Sail Magazine, an online magazine about community and culture written in English by Emirati columnists. Iman is a multi award winner in digital publishing, entrepreneurship, and literature. Iman has also completed the Leadership Strategies in Magazine Media Course in Yale University. Besides her work in publishing, she also lectures in Canadian University in Dubai.
Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

By Iman Ben Chaibah

Where did the notion of fixed working hours start, was it always in this form or did it evolve over time? What do people really feel about it? Is it time to take it to the next evolving stage? Are there alternatives? All this was sparked by a facebook status outburst that said: “I am telling you, the notion of fixed office hours was derived from slavery!”

Fixed working hours

To be employed with fixed working hours implies working a fixed number of hours at an imposed time, on fixed number of days of the week. The current international legalized average working hours are 35-45 hours weekly. The start time and end time differs from an organization to another.

Origins and development

In the pre-industrial time, the period prior to the 18th century, workers worked from dawn to dusk on hunting and farming. This is equivalent to 16 hours summer daytime, and 8 hours winter daytime. However, this included intermittent breaks along with seasonal & occasional holidays.

Then came the industrial revolution between the 18th and 19th centuries. In this phase, working conditions revolved around factories and machines. Working hours became a continuous 12-16 hours per day with scheduled breaks; an average of 80 hours per week.

This started to change towards the end of 19th century, World War I, and the start of information and technology age. Jobs have evolved to different kind of responsibilities. Working hours were reduced almost to the half thanks to the formed unions and constant renewal of legislations. So now, the legalized working hours are between 35 to 45 weekly hours, with 2 to 5 weeks of annual holiday. This allowed the workers to have leisure time and still rest for the day, which enabled them to be more productive at their work.

People’s impressions and feedback

I did a simple survey on facebook and twitter to ask respondents if they were with or against fixed working hours and why. The respondents included self-employed, employed with fixed hours, and employed with flexible hours. 16 out of the 20 respondents were against fixed working hours, the reasons varied as follows.

Fixed working hours do not define the productivity of an employee. People are different, and to have the same working conditions for all employees does not suit their differences. One of the differences may be in productivity. From one side, people differ in the time they require to finish certain tasks, so to have fixed duration for all leaves faster workers idle for a while. From the other side, people differ in their biological productive hours, some may be morning producers while some may be night producers, and some have different hours across the day. Having fixed hours for all types of people does not leverage on their productive hours.

Flexible hours motivate the employees, reduce the pressure in certain times, improve morale, and increase productivity.

Nevertheless, it was agreed among most of the respondents that performance should be monitored closely, so that fixed working hours are reverted if they did not prove successful. Though flexible working hours suits freelancers and project/task based jobs, fixed working hours were sought to be preferable for customer facing and support role jobs.

Alternatives

Below is couple of suggested alternatives for the fixed working hours approach.

Flexible hours.

In this approach, an employee gets to choose the hour in which he prefers to start his 8 working hours, on the condition that he completes those hours in any given working day. Some companies choose to define a starting working hour, with flexibility to the employees to start before or after that time with up to 2 hours.

Virtual offices

Virtual offices are combination of remote working and physical offices. In this approach, employees are enabled to work remotely, access all required documents, and use audio and video conferencing. Virtual offices still ensures physical offices, but not for all the organization, rather for receptionists, limited spaces for meetings and temporary offices and workspaces. This approach saves a large amount of operational costs to the organization, and also enables the organization to recruit oversees talents. However, with such an approach, the management style has to change in terms of performance measurement and monitoring to ensure efficient productivity.

These are only some of the possible alternatives. One approach alone may not be applicable for all industries and jobs. Hence, combined approaches may be the ideal way to ensure customers’ and clients’ convenience, and the productivity of the employees.

Interview with Fatima Al Noaimi

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah, founder of Sail Publishing, a digital publishing house for online magazines and ebooks, and editor in chief of the Emirati Sail Magazine, an online magazine about community and culture written in English by Emirati columnists. Iman is a multi award winner in digital publishing, entrepreneurship, and literature. Iman has also completed the Leadership Strategies in Magazine Media Course in Yale University. Besides her work in publishing, she also lectures in Canadian University in Dubai.
Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

By Shaima Al Tamimi

Fatima Al-Noaimi is a bright young Emirati with a strong vision and focused ambition to become a thriving businesswoman. At the tender age of 20, Fatima has already submitted a business proposal to Khalifa Fund to Support and Develop Small & Medium Enterprises (Khalifa Fund). She is simultaneously taking a long distance degree in Finance at Harvard University and a Bachelors degree at the Higher Colleges of Technology.  Fatima was picked as Sail’s Feature interview because we believe that she is one to watch out for and here is why…

Where do you find the time to study two degrees at once?

Since the classes I take at HCT are evening based, I realized that I had enough free time to occupy myself with something I will benefit from. I am very focused with what I want in life, and I spend very minimal time mingling in College with peers so I can study and graduate with two degrees once I turn 21 next year.

Tell me more about your business idea “Fraction”.

I love events, and I wanted to incorporate something fresh, useful and fun into Abu Dhabi. Fraction is basically a concept that was derived from my observation of us Emiratis/Arabs being a highly consumerist society.  We tend to excessively purchase things we do not necessarily need and a lot of times we also do not end up using these products. This is where fraction comes into the picture. It will allow people to donate second hand or unused items and we will sell them at a lower cost in our premises.  The idea is to have something similar to a garage sale but in a way that will be eventful, live with activity and bring children and adults from different neighborhoods together.

How did you go on about researching this?

It took me almost two months to write up a business plan that was comprehensive of research results through studying the market, surveying people and have them fill out questionnaires I designed carefully.  It was quite tough getting people to respond and because I set a self-imposed deadline, I had to resort to two extra people to help with surveying people in public.

My main goal at that point was to learn as much as I could on what was needed to start up a business. So I took it as a personal project of my own, later on I thought to myself “why not present it to Khalifa Fund?” and I did.

Are you going through a hard time convincing Khalifa Fund to finance your project?

Frankly speaking, my business plan spoke for itself, and they were very impressed with the proposal. However, there was one point that was overlooked half way through the process. My age! Apparently, I have to be 21 to be eligible and we are trying to figure out a solution. The process of thoroughly reviewing applications that need to be approved in many stages, may itself take time until I turn 21, but I try to stay positive and show them that my age should not stop them from approving my project.

What if they do not approve your project?

If worse comes to worst, this experience will have been a huge learning curve for me either way. Fraction is not my only business idea, and I will definitely move on to the next project. It will not be the end for me. I am still young and there is a lot of room for me to make mistakes and learn from them.

Any plans after you graduate next year?

I definitely want to work and gain experience in the corporate world. However I do not plan on spending my youth trying to climb up the corporate ladder. It is not why I am taking two degrees either, because it is not the certificate that will prove my worth. It is me. I would rather be building and contributing towards my own success in business instead of working for other people. Not that it is a bad thing, absolutely not. However, I have my own dreams and working a lifetime for other companies is not the direction I want to take, if I plan to have my own business.

Dreams, Hopes and Aspirations: Why Talking is Sometimes Not Enough.

Mohamed Al Jneibi (@maljunaibi)

Mohamed, an IT Professional with a background in web development, database administration, technical support, and project management. His work includes enhancing corporate systems and designs, and further enhancing current business strategies and processes.
Mohamed enjoys reading literature and political commentary, with a love for Sci-Fi reading and writing. He’s also a big Formula 1 fan, and also heads the Mercedes GP UAE Fan Club based in Abu Dhabi.

Latest posts by Mohamed Al Jneibi (@maljunaibi) (see all)

By: Mohamed Al Jneibi

We do live in very interesting times.

Today, the fast pace through which we find ourselves being apart of, is in itself an amazing achievement. Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is one the spearheads in this wonderful advancement. Never have we thought that communication would become so easy with the tons of means at our disposal. Whether it is the growing and sometimes worrying phenomenon of social networking, or the continuous and contentious nature of the now established internet. While most people might be glad on how easy it is to transfer ideas from one place to another, there are a few slightly disappointed individuals who still think that we have not reached that “ultimate” potential.

You might be wondering who might think of such nonsense, after all, we have come a long way from the days of walking on foot to the nearest town, or praying that somehow you would survive the operation you were about to undertake (remember the good ol’ days of no anaesthesia?).

While no one can deny the amazing strides in technology being made by humanity, there are some fantasies and ideas that have not yet materialized to us all.

In an interview with the BBC, Major General Charles Bolden nearly broke down in tears as they discussed the now four remaining missions for the 28 year old NASA shuttle program, which is due to stop after a revision the US government had made. This would reduce large amounts of the space program’s budget as the government focuses on other areas of the slowly recovering US economy.

Why was this interview special? Ever since the NASA program started, it had been the inspiration and motivation for many of today’s great scientists and thinkers. Many people to this day still dream of going to space, and while space may not be the only frontier left for us to discover (Earth itself has much more left to be explored), there are still the dreams, and hopes of many up and coming scientists, astronomers, thinkers and academics who still look up and say to themselves: “the sky is the limit”.

Major General Bolden was not sad because of seeing his job slowly diminish, or because of downsizing his staff. Quite the contrary, its because working at the space program awards him the pleasure of meeting many children and youth who came to the space centre. Some of whom may have been fascinated and mesmerized at how far the human can go. It is in moments like these where the human soul is inspired into doing things for the greater good. Their beaming faces, all being amazed at their predecessors’ accomplishments. Amongst that crowd would be an even smaller group of inspired youths who do not only fantasize of going or doing something simply relevant to space. But who can also see their visions crystal clear. That group is where you get your future scientists and thinkers.

In today’s world, many of the amazing areas where we have begun to excel in are relatively areas we did not think there is a need to go any further in. How faulty can that argument be. Today, UAE is constantly pulling the new youth into the many areas of economic and scientific development. Whether through the new programs tailored at gaining new youth into the energy fields, or towards our pioneering steps  in the peaceful nuclear energy program

For more than a century, much of the middle east, once home to ideas and innovation (centuries earlier) now stagnant in terms of scientific and to an extent economic development. It is not due to the old misconception of lack of resources, but rather to do with the lack of thoughts being spread amongst the public. It is still a pity to see old and benighted concepts still prevalent within our societies.

Whatever your impressions, it might be worth noting that inspiration is a free thing to spread, but its effect can be quite remarkable and at times also priceless.

It ju


Richard St. John on Success is a continuous journey

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah, founder of Sail Publishing, a digital publishing house for online magazines and ebooks, and editor in chief of the Emirati Sail Magazine, an online magazine about community and culture written in English by Emirati columnists. Iman is a multi award winner in digital publishing, entrepreneurship, and literature. Iman has also completed the Leadership Strategies in Magazine Media Course in Yale University. Besides her work in publishing, she also lectures in Canadian University in Dubai.
Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

In this TED* talk, Richard St. John talks about the journey of success, and the misconception about its ending destination.

*To those who don’t know about TED, please check it out on TED.com. Its simply life changing for those who are ready for it!

Closing Note

Shaima Al Tamimi (@iamshaima)

Shaima Al Tamimi (@iamshaima)

Shaima, a 20 something year old who loves to immerse herself in all things fresh and interesting. She loves to travel, observe people and experience new cultures. Her quarterly column “Food for Thought” discusses important social topics from thought provoking perspectives. Shaima is also a food blogger
Shaima Al Tamimi (@iamshaima)

I would like to send great thanks to all the contributors of this month’s Sail issue who’s thoughts and wise words helped illuminate the capabilities and opportunities within the UAE. We are a nation buzzing with intellect, potentials, and resources. We seize the available prospects and excel.

Take a leaf out of Fatima Al-Noaimi’s book and have the urge to succeed at all costs, or follow in the successful footsteps of Mohamed Al Jneibi and embrace, spread, and educate people through technology and innovation, for we are armed with the best vices for success.

All of us, young and old, face every occasion with vitality, strive for success and look opportunity in the face for it only comes knocking once. Your views and opinions on our “Think Aloud” topic; pertaining to the notion of fixed working hours alongside the other subject matters are dear to us.

Sail magazine is your magazine; so once again, my fellow Sailors, this is your project, your business, your life. Take charge and own it!

Shaima Al Tamimi