What Are Your Office Options When Setting Up a UAE Company?

February 18, 2018

Do you have access to flexible office options when setting up a UAE company?

Entrepreneurs will invariably seek the most cost-effective solutions when starting a business, including the location of their primary workplace. While the global trend is for remote offices, 'digital offices on the move' or home based solutions - the UAE environment is relatively unique with specific requirements on work space.  That being said, there are still many office options available for entrepreneurs to pick from in this region.

Is a physical office a requirement for all businesses?

There are many types of businesses that do not require a physical office to efficiently function with their day to day operations. For instance, it is not uncommon for freelancers or consultants to work and meet their clients from one of the hundreds of coffee shops readily available throughout the UAE. Modern ‘Digital Nomads’ are working on the go, laptop and mobile in hand, happily foregoing the cost overheads associated with a physical office.  However this scenario is not for everyone and certainly not for a growing business.

A Startup with a small headcount might thrive in a space-free working style, while an SME of ten or more staff requires more structure. It is impossible to manage a group of singular employees remotely. Most importantly, communication and face-to-face interaction between employees and managers is necessary to make sure all employees get the same information and that the process of delegating tasks is well-performed.

Furthermore, the 'presence or persona' of a brand is strengthened when clients can visit a fully functioning office environment, complete with reception and meeting space. Many customers prefer to deal with a company that has a physical address - rather than just an internet address. 

What office space options are available in the UAE?

There are three main options for office space in the UAE:

  1. Serviced Offices

A serviced office is a ready-made workplace, where a company can start operations immediately upon receiving the keys. The team will be provided with the necessary requirements, from office furniture to phones and internet connection. As serviced offices are widely available, you can pick the location you deem most suitable for your business to run efficiently.

This is an affordable option for those looking to set up their business in mainland. Serviced office costs, usually vary according to the facilities available. There is also flexibility on the date range, from yearly, monthly or even on a daily basis.

Freelancers and small startups favor the popular co-working options provided by serviced offices. While a co-working space provides all the necessary items to seamlessly conduct business, they are also an ideal ecosystem for entrepreneurs to connect with other like-minded individuals.

  1. Onshore Offices:

To set up an onshore or ‘mainland’ company in the UAE, you are required to either own or lease an office or an office building (in case of large corporations) within the UAE. There is a minimum office space requirement of onshore companies which is set according to the business activity and the number of employees in the company.

Onshore offices are best for companies looking for long-term lease, permanent occupancy or purchase. Such options are not available for serviced offices and Free Zone offices as we will see below.

The cost of leasing or purchasing office space for an onshore company can be a large investment. However, long-term lease reduces the overall payment compared to monthly rental when calculated for the same period. Prices are usually negotiable and both parties decide the terms and provisions of the contract.  Furthermore, there are tax offsets to consider.

  1. Free Zone Offices:

Companies that set up their companies within a Free Zone are usually allowed an office space, in accordance with the jurisdiction and the legal procedures each Free Zone follows. There are several space options Free Zones introduce to suit small startups as well as large companies.

Aside from office space, some Free Zones provide their client companies access to more facilities designed to help them conduct their business more efficiently.

Setup your company at Fujairah Creative City Free Zone and secure the space that best fits your business activity and benefit from the several advantages it offers:

At CREATIVE ZONE, we give you access to prestigious business centres in Downtown Dubai, the Marina and Business Bay and to our exclusive networking events, designed to connect you to prospective customers, allowing you to grow your new business. 

Contact one of our Business Setup Advisors today to learn more.