My Salaam – 7 reasons how shared workplaces are helping entrepreneurs and freelancers

Co-working space

Disclaimer: Pic: Getty Images


Goodbye, 9 to 5. More Millennials are choosing to go freelance, with the desire for flexible working hours ranking as the number one reason individuals want to work for themselves.

But flexible working can also have a downside. A lack of routine can, for instance, result in procrastination, and not having to go to an office every morning can make staying at home all day oh-so tempting.

Thankfully, coworking (the concept of a shared workplace) is helping thousands of freelancers and entrepreneurs all over the world, and it’s becoming increasingly popular in the Middle East. For example, the coworking review website currently lists 10 spaces in Saudi Arabia, 59 in Egypt and 38 in the UAE.

“Depending on your personality, [whether you are] introverted or extroverted, a coworking space can give you the necessary kick to get your work done,” said Hans Henrik Christensen, Director of the Dubai Technology Entrepreneurship Centre (DTEC) and Silicon Oasis Founders (SOF) at Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority. “Sitting at home, too close to your bed, could be detrimental to the amount of work you produce on a daily basis.”

One of the most popular ventures to have emerged recently in Dubai is LetsWork, which partners with hotels and restaurants in the city to create flexible and affordable work spaces for a daily, weekly or monthly fee.

The brainchild of Omar AlMheiri and Hamza Khan, LetsWork was the result of their work with e25 innovation lab, an initiative by Emaar aimed at under-25-year-olds wanting to start their own businesses.

Sharing workspace_ LetsWork

 Image: LetsWork


“Corporate offices are too traditional and expensive, working from coffee shops is inconvenient, and coworking spaces are closed off and inflexible,” Khan told My Salaam. “At the same time, so many restaurants and hotels across the city are sitting empty during weekdays and are the perfect environment to work from.”

As of now, LetsWork has been set up in 14 locations, including Rove hotels in the city as well as other venues in areas like the DIFC, D3 and Arabian Ranches.



  1. It’s cost-effective: “Coworking spaces offer a cost-effective solution for freelancers, entrepreneurs, SMEs, startups, or anyone looking for a space to work from,” Khan said. “People can avoid the traditional costs of a work space, such as rent and utility bills, while working from venues in prime locations at a lesser cost.”
  2. A sense of community: “Whilst working from home, entrepreneurs and freelancers may feel isolated. The community aspect of coworking spaces really helps people feel less lonely as they get to meet new people and work alongside others,” Khan added.
  3. Business opportunities: “The success of your business is largely influenced by your ability to connect, network and influence people and institutions to do business with you,” Christensen explained?. “Coworking spaces offers the opportunity to actually meet your future business connection face-to-face.”
  4. Flexibility: There are plenty of spaces to visit, with flexible timings.    
  5. Creativity: “Conventional offices may restrict creativity with their traditional and ‘boring’ environment,” Khan said. “Coworking spaces inspire people to generate new ideas and be more innovative. People can also collaborate or interact with like-minded peers for feedback on ideas.”
  6. Increased productivity: According to Khan, “the environment and overall energy of coworking spaces boost productivity. Seeing others working hard makes people value their work and put in more effort.”
  7. And finally, there’s always room for learning: “Some places offer a lot of different types of events where you can learn new skills, get inspiration, network with investors, get your funding sorted, etc.,” Christensen concluded.



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