Work takes over family time in the Middle East, study finds

In today’s modern world, work is increasingly taking over our lives and we spend longer and longer hours in pursuit of our career goals

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Almost half of Arabs polled in a recent survey believe that they do not get sufficient time with their family. The survey was commissioned by top Middle East family fashion retailer Centrepoint and its results released ahead of World Family Day on May 15.

In today’s modern world, work is increasingly taking over our lives and we spend longer and longer hours in pursuit of our career goals. With more than 44% of participants in the study spending over nine hours at work, time with family becomes shorter, with adverse effects on our wellbeing.


“Children are often the most affected,” said Lucy Bruce, founder of Home Grown Children’s Eco Nursery who has worked closely with Centrepoint to help raise awareness for the importance of family time.

“As a mother of three, a business owner and founder of the Harmony House charity, it is fair to say that I’ve had times when I’ve felt like I have bitten off more than I can chew. Recognizing the importance of my role in my children’s lives has made being present and spending quality time with my children my main priority. The positive impact it has had on my children and myself is immeasurable.”

Studies have shown that close bonds to family and having a strong emotional support system have a significant positive impact on our health and wellbeing.

Centrepoint’s CEO, Manu Jeswani, said “when I was younger I often missed out on spending precious moments with family due to work commitments. I have learnt from that and today my family is my priority and I make sure to spend quality time with my wife and children on the weekends and on family holidays. Work is an important aspect of life, but family comes first.”

He added that “Centrepoint is a family fashion brand and we care about our customers; a majority of which are married with children. We want to encourage them to cherish this phase of life and prioritize their time towards their families.”

Centrepoint has teamed up with regional lifestyle and parenting influencers Lucy Bruce, Kaya Scott and Deanna Khalil, to share tips and advice on spending quality time with family. Here are some top tips from the UAE-based Bruce on spending quality time with children:

Keep devices out of reach

Put your phone away or on charge while you’re spending time with your family. Make sure they have your full attention and you’ll see that your children are less irritable and attention seeking.

Be prepared to make a mess and accept that this will happen

Don’t rule out activities just because they may take more time or involve more cleaning later. Enjoy the moments you have with your family and think of fun and creative ways to keep your children engaged. The memories you make will be more that worth the time and effort spent.

Let your children take the lead and go with the flow

When children take the lead on activities, they gain and learn so much more. This will also help you connect better with them and get more insight on how they think and approach life.

Talk more about today and less about tomorrow

Focus on learning in the moment and creating opportunities to gain from the current activity instead of focusing on what’s coming up tomorrow and putting pressure on the future. Make sure to breathe and enjoy the moment you’re in.

Make time for kindness and compassion

Don’t be quick to judge and lead by example instead. Take the time to explain why your child’s actions are wrong and ask them to tell me you how they can make things right. Revisit the situation and talk about what they could have done differently and always let them know that you love them, even when they have acted up.

This article was first published by the Saudi Gazette on May 3, 2016.

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