The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has made tremendous strides in the last few decades to become one of the top countries in the world on so many indices. The latest World Happiness Report, published by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, shows the UAE as the 25th happiest nation on the planet.  

It has also been ranked fourth-best place in the world to live and work, according to HSBC’s 14th annual Expat Explorer study, which last year surveyed more than 20,000 people who live and work abroad in 46 countries. 

These are impressive feats for a nation that is celebrating only its 50th year, thanks to a forward-looking leadership that has transformed this desert nation into a thriving global business, leisure and entertainment hub. 

Focus on happiness 

Happiness is a key agenda of the UAE government’s development initiatives. In 2016, it appointed a Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing. In the same year, it approved a National Charter for Happiness, which outlines a programme to encourage government and private sectors to launch, recommend and adopt happiness initiatives for Emiratis as well as expatriate residents and visitors. 

A year later, the UAE University (UAEU), in collaboration with the National Programme for Happiness and Wellbeing, established the Emirates Centre for Happiness Research, the first of its kind in the UAE and the Middle East. Among its earliest projects was to implement the PERMA Model of Wellbeing for expatriate workers to help them achieve happiness in the workplace across the five elements of happiness, including Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishments.  

The emirate of Dubai has also set its own happiness agenda, led by the Smart Dubai Office, that seeks to discover, change, educate and measure people’s happiness.  

A primary function of the Happiness Agenda will be to develop a science-based ‘Happiness Experience’ (HX) strategy, designed to guide decision makers in both the public and private sectors to consider the impact of happiness in all policies, programmes and projects. 

Experiencing happiness 

In more concrete terms, I believe that what the UAE has done is provide the necessary environment and establish the right conditions for those living here to experience happiness in every possible way.  

A great example of this is the great infrastructure the country has built across key areas, such as housing, telecommunications, transportation, healthcare and education. 

We are all witnesses to the UAE’s transformation story. The viral photo of Sheikh Zayed road showing the World Trade Centre building as the only structure on Dubai’s main highway side-by-side with a modern-day city replete with towering buildings and landmarks is an example of how this nation is committed to providing the best “live-and-work” experience, not just for its citizens, but also for millions of residents who now call this country their second home. 

Public utility facilities, such as the Dubai Metro and airports in the city, as well as in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah are among the best in the world. Luxury hotels and top dining destinations and leisure hubs can be found across all seven emirates.  

In the UAE, businesses can be set-up within minutes, while support services are in place to help SMEs and large businesses thrive locally and internationally. Many international education institutions have likewise set up local branches here to provide quality education. The UAE is also the second safest country in the world, according to a Global Finance report released last year. 

All these factors combined help to create a ‘happiness experience’, ensuring people living and working in the UAE have access to opportunities and services and enjoy a high standard of living in a safe, healthy and happy environment. 

DAMAC’s commitment to happiness 

At DAMAC, we have taken the cue from our wise leaders and have demonstrated a commitment to providing a happier and better quality of life for people in need by contributing to the public good through our various social community initiatives. We regularly partner with socio-civic organisations, such as the Emirates Red Crescent, and donate to similar institutions to support their welfare projects. 

In our business model, customer happiness remains a key tenet. Our Customer Relations Management department has launched multiple initiatives, such as our DAMAC Cares Initiative, as well as unveiling a string of IT-enhanced features on our DAMAC Living app, aimed at ensuring our customers remain happy, their concerns are listened to and they have every tool at their fingertips for an easy and hassle-free life. 

 

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