Despite my best intentions to have a kid-free home office, with two young boys, my dedicated workspace often becomes home to sticky fingers, a trail of toy cars, and Peppa Pig’s swing set. While I love hearing the joyful shrieks of my eldest as I twirl him around on my office chair, I am conscious that I really should be working, not playing. (Why are they always at their most charming when a deadline is looming!)
It was when I was balancing my one-year old on my knee and trying to type with one hand, while my three year old was under the desk racing a car up my leg, that I thought perhaps I needed a change of scenery. After a lot of trial and error (and one too many muffins), here’s a roundup of my favourite places and spaces to work when the kid chaos gets just too much.
Nothing sets you up for the day like a working breakfast and Bystro on Sheikh Zayed Road is the perfect place. I always choose the smashed avocado and a cup of green tea but the menu has lots to choose from, including a selection of healthy options. There’s a great atmosphere as the café attracts all types of people: friends meeting for coffee; book club groups, and freelancers to name a few. The staff are super friendly and will move tables for you to ensure you’re near a power point.
2. Dubai Marina Mall
With easy access and free parking, Dubai Marina Mall is a great option if you’re between meetings or school pick ups and just have a couple of hours to work. The free Wi-Fi is fast and with a choice of coffee shops and restaurants to choose from (you will always find me in Caffé Nero because there are lots of power points), you can combine work with a snack or a meal. Or if like me, you tend to leave dinner to the last minute, Waitrose is very handy to pick up a cooked chicken and some salad on your way home. Deadline met and dinner ready – that’s a good day in my book. Check out
3. Café M
Located in Media One Hotel in Media City, Café M is a second home for creatives and media professionals. Busy and pulsating with energy, this is a great place to work when you need some inspiration. A choice of tables, couches, and benches allow for your preferred working style while the menu and salad bar will keep you refuelled. With its quirky design, young vibe, and valet parking, Café M is an ideal spot to mix business and pleasure. One word of advice – lunchtimes get busy so get there slightly earlier to secure a table.
4. My Office
If cafes and malls are no longer suitable, a serviced office can be really helpful in providing professional support. My Office have taken my phone calls and handled my post and meetings since I opened my business, Travel Ink, a few years ago. Since then, they have grown to offer various locations across Dubai and the hot-desking and co-working spaces have been invaluable when I needed serious concentration time. With a communal kitchen and lounge area, I’ve met some incredible entrepreneurs there and that sense of community can be really motivational when working alone. Check out
5. The Bureau
While I actually haven’t tried The Bureau in Downtown Dubai (I’ve just registered online for their free day pass), I’ve heard nothing but good things and their website is easy to use and simple to understand. With lots of packages to choose from, depending on the size and needs of your business, you can select from a few hours a month to a private furnished office suite. Attracting freelancers, business travellers, solo entrepreneurs, and start-ups, The Bureau is ideal for those looking for a high level of flexibility. They also provide advisory services in the form of mentorship, events, and online resources. Check out
About the Author:
Karen Osman is an award-winning author. Her debut novel The Good Mother was published on 1 October 2017. You can buy it online or in paper back at Magrudy’s in the UAE or Sainbury’s in the UK. For more information visit www.karenosman.com
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