Saudi Entertainment sector helps boost economy, social cohesion: Report

Saudis gather inside the "convention hall" at Princess Noura bint Abdulrahman University in the Saudi capital Riyadh on October 6, 2016, ahead of a performance by US dance group iLuminate. (AFP)
Updated 09 May 2017

Saudi Entertainment sector helps boost economy, social cohesion: Report

RIYADH: The entertainment sector supported by the General Authority for Entertainment (GAE) generates SR2.02 for every riyal spent on the organization of an event, according to a report by the GAE.
Some 106 events organized in 21 Saudi cities in a period of less than one year were responsible for millions of riyals spent in the Kingdom, instead of being spent abroad, said the report.
Since its inception, on May 7, 2016, the GAE has adopted a clear-cut approach that focuses on empowering private sector institutions to organize and provide valuable programs using the latest developments in this industry and in line with long-standing values of the Kingdom, based on the teachings of Islam, the report said.
The entertainment sector, the report also said, is among the top job-generating and skill-supporting sector. It has also played a role in instilling the concept of volunteering, and in linking job seekers to businessmen, thus contributing to helping realize the Saudi Vision 2030, the report said.
GAE will go continue its programs and further boost the entertainment industry, and will seek to partner with the private sector, thus becoming a key job provider for Saudi youths, the report said.
GAE has so far provided some 20,000 jobs in this sector since its inception and supported some 106 events with visitors exceeding 2.3 million, the report said. 
GAE plans to lend its support to more than 3,000 events that fall under seven categories, in cooperation with other government agencies, the report said.
The report said that GAE will play an important part in the realization of the Vision 2030 as it will support the efforts of private and non-profit sectors from different regions and provinces to organized entertaining events and functions, as well as help use government funds to establish and develop entertainment centers where citizens and residents can put to good use their capacities and talents.
GAE will also encourage local and foreign investors, partner with global entertainment companies to establish cultural and entertainment projects, such as libraries and museums, as well as support talented citizens, be they writers or producers, and encourage cultural and entertainment activities that cater to the taste of all categories of people, the report said.
GAE will strive to generate more jobs and support the economy through the sale of tickets and food, through transportation or indirectly through spending on goods and services linked directly to certain events, such as production and marketing services, the report added.
Detailing the social objectives, the report said GAE will provide different entertainment options in order to meet the requirements of different categories of population, will contribute to cementing social cohesion and tolerance, and improve the Kingdom’s image in the world.
According to the report, the number of visitors to GAE-sponsored events in 21 cities Kingdom-wide increased steadily from 34,000 in October 2016 to more than 2.3 million by the end of April 2017.

Study says work-life balance disturbed by remote working culture

Updated 1 min 37 sec ago

Study says work-life balance disturbed by remote working culture

RIYADH: In the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, governments around the world introduced strict measures to curb its spread.

Due to the unavailability of a vaccine against the virus, social distancing is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

And with stringent coronavirus measures, companies have made arrangements for employees to work from home. As there is no clarity about an end to this viral outbreak, debate on work-life balance has been ignited.

A new study titled “How COVID-19 changed the way people work” — conducted by global cybersecurity company Kaspersky — reveals how quarantine has influenced how people work from home.

The “new normal” that workers are now facing is starting to have an impact on their work-life balance.

Nearly a third (31 percent) of workers said they are spending more time working than they did before. However, 46 percent said they have increased the amount of time they spend on personal activities.

This increased time on “personal activities” may be attributed to the fact that many people do not have to spend time commuting.

The study added that it has become harder for workers to separate working and personal activity, especially when it comes to IT.

It further stated that 55 percent of workers are now reading more news compared with life before the pandemic.

Workers are also developing a habit of using personal services for work, increasing digital risks, including the disclosure of sensitive information. 

Some 42 percent of employees use personal email accounts for work-related matters, and 49 percent admit their usage has increased when working from home. 

“Organizations cannot just fulfill all user requests, such as allowing staff to use any services. It is necessary to find a balance between user convenience, business necessity and security. To achieve this, a company should provide access to services based on the principle of only supplying minimal and necessary privileges, implement a VPN and use secure and approved corporate systems,” said Andrey Evdokimov, chief information security officer at Kaspersky.

He added: “These types of software may have certain restrictions that slightly reduce usability, but offer greater assurances in providing security measures.”

Dr. Waquar Ahmad Khan, an assistant professor at Taibah University, Madinah told Arab News: “The COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent work-from-home imperatives and lockdowns have led to significant changes in the workings and lifestyles.”

He highlighted that working from home has both positive and negative aspects. 

“Being an academic I can say that teaching is an occupation with low suitability to work from home. To teach remotely without socializing can compromise both teachers and students’ academic performance and mental health,” he said.

There are other issues from the new working culture. Support from colleagues is now harder to find, at least face-to-face, he said, adding that anxieties about the public health issues itself are high.

Dr. Majed Al-Hedayan, a legal expert, told Arab News that the pandemic has led to a restructuring of the concept of job commitments.

“It has become an ambitious and optimistic view contrary to what it was before the pandemic that the performance of workers was below the level of ambition,” he added.

“This motivates public and private entities to adopt a methodology for remote working in the coming period after the pandemic,” said Al-Hedayan.