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What Is a Flexi Desk in the United Arab Emirates?

Apr 28, 2022 | Entrepreneurship

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) hopes to see its economy double in size by 2031. Much of that growth rests on the country’s ever-expanding business community. Anyone launching in this growing market for the first time may find that a flexi desk is an ideal solution.

That goes for businesses already operating across the UAE and looking to expand. Not only are they cost-effective, but they’re packed with additional benefits. One example is how they can aid new businesses in meeting some of their legal obligations.

The inherent flexibility that gives them their names can make them a wise choice for all kinds of businesses in the UAE.

Read on to discover how they can make a difference to your brand.

Flexi Desks in the UAE

Flexi desks, variously also known as hot desks or smart desks, give business owners dedicated spaces in corporate environments without needing entire offices or whole buildings.

There’s strong demand for workspace across the Emirates. As a growth market, it rivals some of the world’s most prominent business centres. Unfortunately, this leads to a shortage of prime locations and potentially high prices.

Flexi desks are an authentic workspace in a dedicated environment without massive costs.

One of the biggest strengths of this way of working is that flexi desks are among the easiest ways to get your business up and running. Our company setup services can include flexi desk space as standard. That sets you and your employees up to get to work immediately, complete with a correspondence address for your venture.

Do You Need a Flexi Desk?

While a flexi desk space isn’t the only option for new companies in the UAE, it can help check off certain boxes when launching a new enterprise.

One common obstacle facing any new business in the country is the need for a physical presence. If you plan to launch a mainland company, there’s no way around the need for a physical presence.

However, a flexi desk arrangement covers a legal requirement. It also automatically introduces associated services like phones, internet access, and reception facilities.

Companies without a physical address can set up a business in one of the UAE’s free zones. However, launching without one can make any working life more difficult moving forward.

Companies without such facilities can’t apply directly for a UAE residence visa. Likewise, companies without a physical address may struggle to meet bank requirements when setting up an account.

In most cases, running a business in the UAE is far more straightforward with a physical presence. A flexi desk is a low cost, customisable option for businesses of all sizes.

Your brand could benefit from flexi desks if:

  • The company is brand new in the UAE and requires an initial physical address
  • Owners and employees need a base already equipped with essential office facilities
  • You seek a prime location where more permanent office facilities are more difficult to come by
  • Employees thrive in a shared space surrounded by like-minded people
  • Your business requires a physical address in a location beyond where you plan to operate

Of course, it’s vital to remember that flexi desks are just one option. Virtually every business in the UAE, especially those entering from abroad, can benefit from a physical presence. Hot desks are ideal for brand new companies.

They might be new to the market or testing the waters. However, don’t forget that Dubai and Abu Dhabi are home to some of the finest office buildings in the world – and the tallest!

There are fantastic business opportunities across the emirates. They’re matched by plenty of different office options. Whether coming from abroad to start something new or a local with a fresh idea, flexi desk space can be ideal for the price, convenience, flexibility, and productivity.

Finding a Prime Location

Flexi desks are among the cheapest ways to gain a physical address for a new business. However, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of the location itself.

Many prospective business owners consider the prestige and perception of the address, and rightly so. For example, a corporate address in the Dubai workspaces of Business Bay might be more attractive to new clients than other areas of lower prestige.

However, there are other considerations beyond status. For example, the flexi desk should exist in the same territory as the business’s registration in most cases.

As always, some free zones have different policies and are less restrictive about the location. However, some free zones boast no support for coworking spaces at all. Others have proven so popular that, even with multiple occupants, virtually all office space is already accounted for.

Unsurprisingly, the easiest way to find the right location for any business is to work with a leading local expert, and Virtuzone can help. We help new companies find prime locations for their brands at numerous locations across free zones and the mainland.

This ensures the correct approach. Moreover, it leads to smooth business operations as your business transforms from an innovative startup into a thriving organisation.

Some Great Flexi Desk Locations

Many new businesses in the UAE think about Dubai workspaces and the lure of Abu Dhabi. However, anyone looking for flexible working opportunities is spoilt for choice! Here are just some of our favourites.

Ajman Free Zone (AFZ)

The Ajman Free Zone is all about flexibility. It was established in 1988, making it one of the UAE’s oldest business districts. The wide variety of businesses operating there and the extensive availability of flexi desk packages make it a desirable option.

Fujairah Creative City Free Zone (FCC)

Widely known for providing the UAE’s only direct access to the Indian Ocean, the Fujairah Creative City attracts new business through sheer simplicity. Setup is straightforward, there’s no need for a local sponsor, and a flexi desk location alone is enough for local visa applications.

Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ)

As well as having the most pronounceable acronym of all the UAE’s free zones, the RAKEZ hub appeals to new companies through support for businesses of all sizes and sectors. The area also handles numerous government functions locally, often speeding up visa applications. Flexi desk space is plentiful in this context, and there are no specific physical presence requirements to start a business.

Making the Most of Flexi Desk Space

The nature of flexi desks means that they’re suitable for all kinds of businesses and many different purposes. For example, some companies elect to utilise their desk space purely for the location and mail handling. Others use the physical space as much as they can under the terms of their lease.

It’s always a good idea to have at least a general understanding of working patterns before committing to a flexi desk. Some agreements may, for example, involve limits on the days or hours in which the leaseholder can access facilities.

Anyone interested in flexible working in the UAE should consider:

  • How often and for how long they require deskspace
  • The likelihood of needing meeting rooms, conference spaces and other facilities
  • Whether you require a pure working space or would also like to take advantage of networking opportunities, business support, think tanks and other opportunities

Considering these options ensures you pick the right location and setting for you.

Pricing Up Flexible Working in the United Arab Emirates

Unsurprisingly, there’s no single approach to pricing when it comes to flexible working. While noted for being cost-effective, numerous factors dictate budget requirements when setting up a coworking space. They include:

Location

Like most aspects of business, pricing often comes down to supply and demand. One of the most significant draws for businesses in coming to the UAE is that major centres, such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, boast cheaper office space than their international competitors. Both emirates typically work out cheaper than London, New York and Beijing.

However, while that makes them cheaper on a global scale, both emirates represent premium space in the UAE, and they’re priced accordingly.

If your business can exist outside of one of the country’s core business hubs, it can lead to significant cost savings.

Of course, it can make sense to spend more to ensure a location relevant to your business. Dubai workspaces, in particular, have thrived through bringing like-minded businesses together.

Media companies commonly come together in Dubai Media City. Meanwhile, businesses focused on education, and personal development finds themselves drawn to Dubai Knowledge Park.

Flexi desk space in these areas may not always represent the cheapest option. Still, the availability of talent and freelancers, networking opportunities and widespread support can make for an incredible return on investment.

Facilities

A flexi desk can be famously inexpensive, especially if all you need is a dedicated workspace away from home. However, business is rarely this linear.

One of the best reasons to do business in the UAE is to become part of a globally respected, thriving business community. However, reaching its full potential often means much more than working alone at a desk for a company.

The size, availability and prestige of additional facilities can all play a part in costs. For example, there’s no shortage of luxurious meeting facilities at which any company could entertain their dream client. But, naturally, this prestige can come at a price, just like the location.

This can extend to more standard services too. For example, you might base your choice of flexi desk location on internet speed. Alternatively, you could contrast two different options based on security and reception services.

The more demanding your business requirements, the more you expect to spend. Fortunately, the communal nature of coworking spaces usually means better value than seeking out these facilities separately.

Contractual Requirements

Perhaps the most crucial reason to seek local expertise in the registration process involves contractual obligations. While coworking spaces are famously flexible in their approach, every entrepreneur understands the importance of reading the fine print.

From a costing perspective, it’s essential to look out for break clauses, minimum contract terms and addons for services beyond the original agreement.

The Future

Some businesses thrive in coworking environments. One of the best things about flexi desks is that they can scale with your business as it grows.

If your business plan involves rapid growth, it can be worth looking into bulk discounts and other perks early on. While it may not affect the price in the short term, it stands every chance of giving you something to work towards and plan for.

Flexi Desks in the United Arab Emirates – Pros and Cons

Hot desks and coworking spaces are by no means the only option for new businesses in the UAE. Instead, they’re one of several options. That’s why we work closely with clients to understand their unique demands.

Is a UAE flexi desk suitable for you and your business? Here are some of the positives and negatives of this approach:

Flexi Desk Pros

  • Flexi desks are often the cheapest way for a business to create a physical presence in the UAE
  • Communal spaces are often more productive not only than working from home but also in traditional office environments
  • Hot desks grow with your business – if you require more space, simply upgrade your lease
  • Coworking spaces are easy to join and relatively easy to leave, making them ideal for new ideas or corporate test runs

Flexi Desk Cons

  • A flexi desk may not be enough of a physical presence to apply for a business bank account in the UAE
  • Coworking spaces can be inconsistent, especially for managers, with team members often using different desks each time
  • Personal space can be limited in these environments, and you’ll often spend time within earshot of other people

Start the Setup Process in the UAE Today

Office space, including flexi desks,  is a crucial consideration for any new company, but it’s not the only one. At Virtuzone, we’ve worked with over 60,000 founders from around the globe on successful business launches across the emirates.

We’d be delighted to do the same for you. So whether you’re considering launching a new brand in Abu Dhabi or need local expertise on Dubai workspaces, contact us today to get the process underway!

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Disclaimer
UAE laws and regulations as well as pricing related to company formation are subject to change without notice. While we produce our content on the basis of thorough research, laws and regulations might have changed since this content was published. Furthermore, responsibility for any information in external links lies solely with the operator of the third party website.