Dubai: One of the most obvious benefits of disruptive technology for working men and women today is flexible working hours anywhere, any time.
UAE has followed this global trend of allowing flexi hours or work-at-home options and many happier employees/ entrepreneurs are having a less stressful, relatively travel-free life where they can work in their pyjamas from the comfort of their homes, while juggling around domestic duties.
Gulf News caught up with five of these people to know why work-at-home brings such a huge smile on the faces of this young and growing tribe.
Investment and personal finance planning
“Ever since I started working from home, I have been able to enjoy quality time with my teenage kids” – Yousuf Singaporewala who deals in private equities and makes personal investments in international share markets around the globe from the comfort of his home.
A qualified chartered accountant who earned a six figure salary for 25 years as an auditor in a private firm, Singaporewala realised that it would be detrimental to his two children if both he and his wife continued to work in high pressure jobs and stayed away from home for long hours. “My wife is a senior doctor at a government hospital. Earlier we had a distant family living with us, an old couple who helped us out with the upbringing of our daughter and son. However, as my kids grew, I realised that as a parent one of us had to be hands on with them. They had extra-curricular activities, a social life, and parent teacher’s meetings as well as needed one of us to watch them grow.”
Ever since I started working from home, I have been able to enjoy quality time with my teenage kids
So Singaporewala, first gave up his job to be a freelance financial consultant. Eventually he realised there was enough profit to be made investing in private and public equities and managing the family’s personal finances and working round the clock from the crack of dawn, right up to late night, in order to sync with markets globally, Singaporewala manages to multitask other chores. “I am happy, de-stressed, have enough me-time meeting friends and also managing to fly home to India on lighter days. I have the time to bond with children, go for a swim and to the gym and have been able to make a very good profit on my investments, so much so that we are able to save one partner’s earnings completely and still enjoy a very good quality of life. I have no regrets and feel there couldn’t have been a better option for me.”
Julia Samoudouva runs Digital Marketplace, her home-grown business, connecting businesses from around the world with digital analysts, business intelligence, and advertising and social media community through her own digital platform and earns commissions from both parties.
Working as a digital analyst and expert in the corporate world, Samouduva, a Russian expatriate in Dubai, realised it was in her best interests to trade the stuffy corporate board room for a relaxed working atmosphere. She registered as a free-lancer with the Fujairah Free zone and began working from home in early 2018.
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I realised that my output did not depend on the place where I sit to work
“I realised that my output did not depend on the place where I sit to work. Essentially I needed computers to operate my digital platform,” said Samuduova who says she easily saves up to 3000 per month on fuel and other costs and a substantial amount as she does not have to rent office space. “
There are tangible and intangible advantages. I save the stress of commute and traffic jams. I am awake at 5 am and connect with my clients in UK, US and later in the day with Europe and Mena region. I begin working in my t-shirts and legging even as I am making my coffee and breakfast.”
In the last 12 months Samouduova made approximately 300,000 annually. “I pay myself and know I can do better, which eventually I will build into my work, but as of now, the trade-off doing my own thing from the comfort of home is unparalleled.”
Content creation and translation
Ola Kseroof, a Syrian expat in Dubai for 16 years, gave up a well-paid job as a content creator and translator working 9 years for a leading company to work from home. Earlier she had to drive to Abu Dhabi where she worked from Dubai and after nine years she decided to give up that stress and does not regret her decision. On a free zone license from Dubai South, Kseroof liaises with companies and works with a group of freelancers to deliver content. “All I need is a laptop, myself and my phone and I happily work from home.
All I need is a laptop, myself and my phone and I happily work from home
Of course there were issues setting up bank accounts, listing my business on Google homepage etc. However once these were ironed out I was all set in my work,” said Kseroff who uses several cooperative meeting rooms and coffee shops to conduct her client meets when she steps out. “Travelling only when I have to and saving cost of electricity etc. on running a work place with many other logistics is far easier. I find time to do my groceries, work out and meet friends, don’t always have to invest in latest shoes, clothes make-up etc. and that saves me burning a hole in my pocket as corporate life demanded that,” said Kseroff.
Sonakshi Gandhi, an Indian expatriate and social media expert of ten years recently gave up her cushy job in 2018 to take a Dubai Economic Department license to work from home. “I feel more at liberty to work with starts ups and Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs), feel more creative and do not have to fall in line with a larger corporate,” said Gandhi who freelances and collaborates on projects with others, enumerating the immediate benefits of working from home. “It gives me a lot of flexibility, I did not have to shell out a huge amount to rent a physical space. Instead saving that amount I was able to start with an initial capital of Dh5000.
I feel more at liberty to work with starts ups and Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs), feel more creative and do not have to fall in line with a larger corporate
This money I used on developing my website, purchasing a few software and creating my online presence. My overheads are low as I meet clients at co-working spaces which have subscriptions with a string of coffee shops around Dubai where we hold coffee meetings. That is the only cost I incur as I save a huge cost on petrol and other expenses and am otherwise at home multitasking as a mother, a home maker and still able to make a decent sum,” said Gandhi.
Mariam Kudrati turned into a wedding planner with her experience in event management from India. In Dubai she teamed up with a cousin who has a trade licence and works most from home coordinating with several agencies such as chefs, florists, venue managers, photo and videographers, card printers, decoration and catering companies and weaving dreams for young couples looking for a blissfully wedded life.
I started small with planning birthday parties and small events and now I have graduated to arranging everything for the bride and groom from the comfort of my home
“I started small with planning birthday parties and small events and now I have graduated to arranging everything for the bride and groom from the comfort of my home, “ said Kudrat, 43, I who invested a capital of Dh 25000 in her business two years ago, which has grown exponentially all through word of mouth. “I do not draw any salary for myself and have been saving all my profits to create a good capital base that will be a good buffer. Kudrati’s charges vary depending on the nature of the wedding and the budget of her clients.
Benefits of working at home
“More and more people are looking to work from home to allow them to manage family commitments easier, especially in a region with such a high expatriate community who don’t have family members to support in childcare. In addition, working from home can reduce of cost and time of commuting and allow a greater work life balance. For business having a flexible/remote work policy will bring cost savings in terms of physical office space etc… this being said there needs to be clear process and training of how to effectively work remotely,” said Louise Crane, the Managing Director of Mums@work. She highlights a better work-life balance that working from home facilitates.
More and more people are looking to work from home to allow them to manage family commitments easier
Crane added: “Employees can mult-itask and gain a better work life balance – in terms of using their time better and more efficiently in a day. I also believe that working from home can help in terms of thinking time and creativity, or just having the quiet time to work on a project without interruptions of the office." However Crane cautioned that as a human resources expert it took a different kind of strength to manage a flexible work force. “It does take more effort as you need to manage on delivery of KPI’s rather than them actually just being sat in the office – (which by the way just because people are sat in the office doesn’t mean they are actually working!) “
• Low overheads mean low expenses: With a room in your home doubling up as office space, the cost of renting, cost of bills such as water, electricity and maintenance are nil or the same as you anyway pay for your home. A substantial saving of a minimum of Dh 30,000 annually. A great relief as there is no new expenditure involved
• Fuel and car depreciation costs go down: If you spend an average of Dh 150 on fuel commuting from office to work, it means saving 600 on fuel and also conserving the life of your vehicle. Not to mention the waste of time spent on the commute and the stress it triggers
• Lower carbon footprint: The lesser natural resources spent, lesser fossil fuel burnt, makes work at home more sustainable
• Working at home makes an individual more productive: Several studies show that working at home provides a liberal work space to the employee who is able to give far better productivity and output from home. Despite many multi-tasking, there is optimum utlilisation of time and resources. This has got to do with zero stress of travel, hostile interactions with colleague that leaves them with better time to focus on increasing work productivity and quality of job delivered
• Substantial saving on clothes, make-up, shoes and other incendiaries: One usually works at home in comfortable home clothes and saves up on that expenditure which easy runs into Dh12,000 in a year.
• High on happiness quotient: Working at home makes an individual feel more in control and in the driver’s seat as it allows the individual to multi-task with ease. There is better work-life balance and that is the key to happiness for any individual.
Here are some vital tips on how you can work from home better!
• Research the work at home visas available through free zones, choose one and set up shop at home
• Choose from an array of work that is ideal to be done from home – stock broking, financial consultancy, digital consultancy, freelance advertising, marketing and journalism, writing scripts and copywriting, event management, tutoring, translating and the like.
• Make a clear business plan that clearly shows your capital investment, your expenditures and projects the total turnover based on the likely the projects you will work on. This way you budget for every eventuality and are able to clear know the feasibility of your venture
• Prioritise your time and make sure you devote enough time to work even while you have more spare time for family.
• Segregate work space at home devote a table or a room to office space so that when you step into it, you switch into work mode easily and leave behind domestic worries
• Draw up schedules and set up goals: After initial communication with client, draw up tight schedules and set targets and dates of completion. Make sure you stick to timetables and do not diffuse the urgency by mixing it up with some domestic chore.