Few cities are as conducive to entrepreneurialism and innovation as Dubai, a place that inspires its eclectic mix of international residents to dream big.
Overall, this vibrant emirate could almost be considered a startup itself. While human settlement can be traced back to 3000 BC, the small fishing village exploded into action when oil was discovered in 1966. Fast forward to 2019 and it’s become one of the most dynamic cities in the world.
Dubai is filled with digital nomads and independent professionals who are spoiled for choice. When it comes to finding a dedicated workspace, a bustling like-minded community, or a comfortable coffee shop that welcomes laptop warriors.
Coworking with a difference in Dubai
The luxurious approach to life in the United Arab Emirates means coworking spaces are different from those found in other corners of the world.
While high-speed WiFi and high-quality coffee have become the international standard, Dubai’s coworking spaces are unique. Some boast complimentary valet parking, spa, pool, and gym access, premium addresses… and some of the world’s best donuts.
Who are coworking spaces for?
More than 200 nationalities make up Dubai’s three million-strong population. Meaning, when you step into a shared office space in Dubai, you’ll be rubbing shoulders with thought leaders and innovators from all over the world.
A wide range of professionals finds coworking spaces to be their perfect permanent or temporary workplace solution. For the budding entrepreneur with limited capital, paying for a hot desk (on a subscription model) keeps their costs low while offering a professional space to host meetings and exchange with other movers and shakers in Dubai.
For other larger companies, a coworking space is a quick solution when first opening an office in Dubai, whereby they are afforded a mailing address and all office essentials from day one.
The best coworking spaces in Dubai are recommended here, and they all provide advice to expatriates that need assistance registering as a freelancer or small business, requiring trade licenses, visas, and more.
So where to co-work in Dubai?
These days there are more and more options popping up every day. Check out the following four coworking spaces in Dubai. They’re a few of our tried and true favorites.
Nest Dubai (Barsha Heights)
Time spent at Nest Dubai could very well be considered a working vacation. Pegged as one of the world’s first fully integrated coworking spaces within aworldwide branded hotel. Members of Nest have access to luxurious amenities that are typical of Dubai’s high standards.
Imagine rolling up to your coworking space, tossing your keys to the valet (free parking!), unwinding with a workout or swimming in the pool, inviting clients to restaurants (that offer exclusive discounts), and picking up freshly pressed laundry (at a reduced price). It’s all under one roof!
Feeling motivated to snap up a membership yet?
All in all, nest understands the importance of flexibility and offers a variety of aptly named packages: Fly, Glide and Swoop. These range from daily rates starting from Dh 99 and 10-visit monthly passes from Dh 899 to full-blown, access-all-areas style packages starting at Dh 1,499. Did we mention the unlimited coffee and snacks?
Astrolabs Dubai (Jumeirah Lakes Towers)
“Make it happen” is the motto of Astrolabs Dubai, and with its cool co-working space humming 24/7, they really mean it. The bright, bustling space has a modern layout complete with pictures of astronauts, perhaps to remind digital nomads that the stratosphere is the limit. It’s strategically located and easily reached via public transport.
And there’s also ample parking nearby.
Coffee and ideas flow freely with this melting pot of entrepreneurs and collaborators. Their on-site showers mean you can burn the midnight oil, refresh and take on the next day with a spring in your step.
The friendly folks running Astrolabs invite newcomers to stop by andtake a tour. They encourage people to experience the vibe for themselves and get answers to any questions they may have in real-time. The flexible Moonlighter membership starts from Dh 750 per month, and a Licenced Membership that includes valuable resources to assist the set-up of a small business begins at Dh 2,500 per month.
Nook (Jumeirah Lakes Towers)
Nook welcomes all entrepreneurs, startups, and freelancers, with a special focus on health, fitness, and wellness. The sleek décor reflects the kind of workspace this is: cool and calm with just the right amount of fun.
The daily, weekly and monthly packages are tailored to meet almost everyone’s needs. The staff will happily set you up with a free trial before making any commitments.
Members can enjoy 24/7 access to Nook. Although the focus may be on healthy living, they make no secret of favoring the Canadian donuts from the Tim Horton’s outlet in the lobby area
Nook is amazingly affordable with a daily rate of Dh 60, a weekly rate of Dh 250, and monthly access for Dh 1,000.
The Co (Downtown Dubai)
The Co brings a chic London vibe to its inspiring address in Downtown Dubai, located just steps from the world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa.
Since its launch in 2011, The Co has helped more than 50 startups and small businesses on their path to success. They are currently running a program tailored to young entrepreneurs which aim to encourage and build on Dubai’s existing innovative community.
Packages range from one hour to full time, which includes mentoring sessions and access to workshops and events.
So popping into The Co for an hour will set you back a mere Dh 10 for a space in the open plan area. Options extend to a dedicated desk which is Dh 2,500 for a month, or a private office with a monthly rate of Dh 6,000.
Alternatives to coworking spaces
The perfect mix of great coffee, fast (and free!) internet, personable staff, and super-chic décor is surprisingly common in Dubai since laptop-friendly cafés are in abundance.
In a city geared towards success, you’ll find groups of laptop-lunchers working alongside each other, often at communal tables strategically placed to encourage a sense of community.
The very best cafes to work from in Dubai are:
Tom and Serge (Al Quoz)
Baker and Spice (Old Town)
The Sum of Us (Sheikh Zayed Road)
Intersect by Lexus (Dubai International Financial Centre)
Pantry Café (Bay Square)
Amongst Few (Jumeirah Beach Road)
Working from home
Working in pajamas is very appealing for some trailblazers. The luxury of the world’s fastest commute (from the bed to the laptop) with coffee on demand and all the comforts of home within reach is what helps some be their most productive.
Blueground’sbeautifully appointed apartments are specially designed to encourage a balance of work and relaxation. Every property comes fully furnished and connected to high-speed internet, so you can get to work as soon as you arrive.
Each of Blueground’s Dubai rentals comes with a dedicated workspace, whether you find yourself renting a studio or two-bedroom home. Therefore you can get settled while keeping work and relaxation separate.