Categorized | For the love of writing

Life as an Expat Column: Dubai’s Work-friendly Spaces

Posted on 06 February 2012 by Alice

Written for Social Circles

By Alice Johnson

Taking the plunge into freelancing is a daunting step – suddenly your job security is gone and general contact with the outside world is reduced to nil. But working from home and freelancing does come with generous benefits: you’re in charge of your time and your work is your own. Sitting in a home office day after day can get a bit tedious and freelancers do sometimes miss the interactivity of an office.

Dubai seems to have cottoned on to the freelance phenomenon, with a number of new workspaces popping up around the emirate. Let’s start with the MAKE Business Hub, situated on the road running parallel to JBR’s The Walk (pictured). Having opened just recently on January 22nd, MAKE is a workspace with a difference. The specially-designed work areas come fitted with plug sockets and table lamps and Wi-Fi connection is free. The café has a great selection of coffees and a small (but tempting) menu. Networking events and workshops are currently being planned.

Location & opening hours: Al Fattan building, Level 1. Open daily from 8am-10pm

Pros: It’s a great place to work, with soothing background music and lots of light.

Cons: Lack of parking

The Pavilion is also relatively new and is located in the old Emaar sales centre, Downtown Burj Khalifa. The wide, open space has plenty of desk space and Wi-Fi is free and unsecured. If you’re feeling creative, check out their regular art exhibitions or catch a movie in their dedicated arts cinema. The menu is good, but pricey, and they’ve got outside seating for people-watchers and smokers, including shisha. The best thing about the Pavilion has to be the green wall – a live vertical plant pot.

Location & opening hours: Downtown Burj Khalifa,

Pros: Great location & plentiful parking, artistic events and the green wall!

Cons: The open area does echo and tends to get a bit noisy

The Shelter has been around for a bit longer than the other two I’ve mentioned, and unfortunately has shrunk to 1/5 its size since it moved location last year. While its ‘hut’ inside is quite quaint, it can be a little claustrophobic and the proximity to its coffee machine also means it can be a bit noisy.

Location & opening hours: Warehouse 30, Al Serkal, Al Quoz. No times displayed.

Pros: It’s a good place to stop if you’ve been trawling the Al Quoz art galleries.

Cons: Out-of-the-way location and its small size.


*Alice Johnson is a freelance writer and editor based in Dubai.


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