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The 'hot desk' concept is back from COVID-19 induced cold storage. As the Expo opening day nears, flexi workspaces could be back on the charts. And in a big way. Image Credit: Agency

Dubai: An office at a restaurant? Why not?

The Irish F&B brand McGettigan’s is promising just that, offering patrons something more than what’s one the menu. Instead, they can also book for a ‘private workspace’ at the facility in JLT (Jumeirah Lake Towers) for a two-hour slot at any time between 12pm-8pm. The package starts at Dh499, and refreshments are thrown into the mix as well.

In addition, the workspace can seat up to four in a sound-insulated room, thus “ensuring users can take calls privately without the risk of being overheard or called out for being ‘out of office’,” according to a statement issued by the operator.

There is no knowing whether other restaurant brands will have workspaces as an option, but for sure, the way work is being carried out will keep on changing in a COVID-19-disrupted landscape. According to market sources, concepts such as ‘hot desking’ and shared workspaces are once again coming out of cold storage with fears about COVID-19 subsiding.

McGettigan’s ‘private workspace’ at the facility in JLT Image Credit: Supplied

“Jurisdictions including DMCC free zone are offering heavy discounts for flexi-desks and office spaces,” said Robin Philip, Director for Assurance and Business Advisory at A&A Associates. “Up to Dh15,000 discounts are offered for flexi-desks.

“The Government has made it more flexible for people wanting to start their business in UAE - and much easier for new entrants. For instance, they do not need a commercial office or physical address to get a business license – they can operate a business in Dubai/UAE for a full year without it. They only need to produce the ‘Ejari’ certificate only at the time of license renewal one year later.”

More need during Expo months

Flexible working ways and workspace options should get more prominence and usage during the Expo months. The intention is not to be tied down to a single office address and instead opt for a ‘workspace’ as and when required. This is where a two-hour window that McGettigan’s provides with its workspace option offers.

“Mobility and flexibility will be critical during the Expo months,” said a developer who provides co-working spaces at multiple locations in Dubai. “As a provider, there is a lot of making up we will need to do after the COVID-19 disruptions last year.

“But co-working space requirements are again making a comeback – and anyone with a bit of space and supporting technology can make it work.”

Of course, restaurants in Dubai could also provide some stiff competition.