Deadline extension for Islamic Economy Awards
The deadline for the 2016 Islamic Economy Awards has been extended to 11 August.
The award is an initiative from the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) to recognise sharia-compliant innovative, world-class business concepts that contribute to the social and economic welfare.
The winners will be announced at the Global Islamic Economy Summit (GIES) held on 11 and 12 October 2016.
Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman, Dubai Chamber and Board Member of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre said: “The public reaction to the Islamic Economy Award has been overwhelmingly positive; individuals and business have been increasingly heeding the call of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to turn Dubai into a capital of Islamic economy.
“To that end, the application deadline for the Islamic Economy Award has been extended to give a chance for the largest number of qualified candidates who have made their mark on the Islamic economy – and played their part in pushing it forward – to come forward, share their success stories, and inspire countless others.”
The jury this year includes four new members: Dr Mohammed Daud Bakar, Chairman of Shariah Advisory Council at Bank Negara Malaysia & Securities Commission (Malaysia), Jad Toubayly, Director of Fund Placement & Corporate Finance Division at Greenstone Equity Partners (UAE), Zulkifly Said, Director General of the Islamic Tourism Centre of Malaysia (Malaysia), and Abdullah Turkistani, Director of Islamic Economics Centre (Saudi Arabia).
The eight key categories of the Islamic Economy Award 2016 include financial and economic categories, such as Islamic Finance, which comprises Islamic microfinance, SME and venture capital financing, corporate or sovereign sukuk issuing entities, takaful and re-takaful, Islamic banking, and Islamic fund management; as well as SME Development (technology, incubation, training, infrastructure and SME ecosystem development). There’s also the Food and Health category, i.e. agriculture, ingredients and manufacturing, retail, logistics, research, product development and food services, cosmetics, personal care, and pharmaceuticals.
Read the August 2016 issue of Business Review Middle East magazine
UK office space slashed as hybrid working looks set to stay
With hybrid predicted to be the working model of the future, and businesses both large and small announcing that WFH will continue for employees into the future, the traditional office space is being re-thought.
Businesses are both questioning how much space they need for a hybrid working future, especially if it means they can potentially save money, and what form that space should take.
UK firms slashing office space
Back as early as February, HSBC – whose real estate footprint currently stretches to around 112 football pitches worldwide – said it would be cutting its post-COVID office space by half globally and by 40% in London over the next few years, as it looks to implementation of a hybrid working model in light of the pandemic.
Lloyds Bank followed suit. Following an internal survey where 77% of employees said they wanted to continue to work for 3+ days a week post-pandemic, the bank announced it was also moving to a hybrid model, and so looking to cut its office space by 20% over the next two years.
In fact, the latest research from consulting firm PwC reveals that a third of organisations surveyed (258 of the UK’s largest companies) believe they will reduce their office footprint by more than 30%.
The findings of PwC’s Occupier Survey indicate there is likely to be a sizeable fall in occupied office space with half of executives surveyed saying that despite taking into account mass vaccinations, employees will continue to work virtually 2-3 days a week.
And companies continue to announce the hybrid working model for their employees. Accountancy firm EY has just announced that its 17,000 employees are moving to a hybrid way of working, WFH for at least two days a week. This follows PwC which in March said workers could stay at home for half the time and KPMG which this month said it would expect employees to only work two days in the office every week.
More collaborative work spaces
However, what’s also clear from PwC’s research is that the role of the office is not going to disappear completely, but instead adapt to a new way of working, with half of all organisations with more than 100 employees saying they have a real estate and workplace strategy that considers the long-term impact of COVID-19.
“We may see an increased demand for flexible space as many businesses operating models may well need that option if holding dead space is to be avoided,” says Angus Johnson, UK Real Estate Leader at PwC UK.
According to the survey, more than three quarters of respondents said they are likely to reconfigure existing office with 43% of financial services firms stating that they are extremely likely to do so as a result of the pandemic.
“It’s also clear that the nature and purpose of office space is going to change. As occupiers seek new, different space to meet their accommodation needs, environmental aspects will be increasingly important. If the real estate sector is to truly succeed as a more dynamic, greener industry it’s imperative that creative thinking comes to the fore.”
And companies are already thinking creatively how they can utilise office space in a hybrid future. So while HSBC is cutting a significant amount of office space, it is not downsizing its prestigious Canary Wharf headquarters, and instead reimagining the space. In April, CEO Noel Quinn announced the firm was embracing an open plan floor, with no designated desks or private offices, and instead using hot-desks in line with the future hybrid working style. “My leadership team and I have moved to a fully open-plan floor of the building in east London with no designated desks,” he said on LinkedIn.
Lloyds also reported it was adapting its office space, so that rather than individual offices, it will have a more collaborative workspace. And just last month, KPMG announced it too was ditching desks and individual offices, and replacing them with meeting rooms and conference halls for a more collaborative workspace.