The study is a Smart Dubai initiative that seeks to facilitate the formulation of a post Covid-19 strategy.
The Covid-19 pandemic may have disrupted different aspects of life around the world, but in Dubai, customer service remained efficient and convenient for residents – with some services even showing improvement – a new report has found.
In its latest report titled ‘Covid-19: City Experience Resilience And Impact Report’, Smart Dubai looked into the impact of the pandemic and how it affected smart services in the emirate.
It revealed that the Dubai Government “demonstrated a high level of resilience”, which has helped the emirate avoid any reduction in the quality of experiences and services being offered to residents and visitors. On the contrary, some of these services saw marked improvement, according to the study.
Numerous organisations reported that their infrastructure and services were effective and adequately prepared for digital operations – so when Covid-19 struck, they adjusted well.
Others managed to digitise any remaining offline services quickly and provided them for immediate use online, the research added.
The Smart Dubai report – which included 34 takeaways and eight recommendations – aims to facilitate the formulation of a post-Covid-19 strategy. It was compiled by its Happiness Agenda team, in collaboration with Smart City Specialists represented by both the Smart City Experience (focusing on city services) and Work Environment Specialists (focusing on human resources). They represented 20 government, semi-government, and private sector entities.
Dr Aisha bint Butti bin Bishr, director-general of Smart Dubai, asserted that the Covid-19 outbreak has led everyone to view challenges differently and to think of ways to transform them into opportunities, building a brighter future for the UAE.
She quoted His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who said: “Anyone who thinks that the world after Covid-19 will be the same as the one before it is mistaken.”
“The pandemic had confined people to their homes at very short notice,” Dr Aisha explained. “Educational training for students and work across the city, both at government and private sector entities, were conducted remotely and world governments found themselves facing unprecedented challenges. Dubai and the UAE were no exception. All entities in Dubai immediately sprang to action to preserve the government system that has allowed the UAE to earn its leading international status over the years.”
The Smart Dubai study focused on three different subjects: employees, corporate operations, and services provided to customers and employees alike.
More flexible work options
Participants in the report identified new opportunities brought about by recent transformations, including more flexible work options for mothers and women in general, in addition to time and cost-saving processes.
These opportunities have emerged as a direct result of the recent developments in infrastructure, and of the digital services provided by government, semi-government, and private sector entities in Dubai.
The city-wide digitisation of services over the past 20 years has enabled the emirate to respond to such global crises with strength and flexibility, guided by the UAE’s wise leadership and its vision to maintain control and prosperity even during the Covid-19 outbreak, the report said.
Overall, a new, online work culture has emerged within institutions, one where call centres bridge the gap and tend to people who need someone to help them.
Digital transformation was seen as a challenge, but urgent demand prompted organisations to accelerate innovation in order to provide all services over the Internet. This rapid response was manifested through the speed at which officials collaborated and adapted to the changes as the pandemic accelerated in pace.
The report offered a set of key recommendations that underlined Dubai’s preparedness to shift from a traditional work environment to working remotely, seamlessly and for an indefinite period of time. T
Its ‘New Work Culture’ section reveals that entities’ focus is now placed on productivity and output, while also ensuring their employees lead a balanced life, both physically and psychologically.
Building a resilient, smart city
The report concluded that adopting empowering technologies is fundamental for a resilient smart city (such as UAE PASS, the national digital identity).
As for Digital Transformation, the study stressed the importance of working on sustaining and improving digital services and infrastructure.
The section on ‘information clarity’ called for spreading awareness and common knowledge about currently prevailing circumstances, while ‘design quality’ serves to enhance the long-term efficiency of systems.
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