The Ultimate Dubai Coworking Space Guide

So you’re looking for a place to work in Dubai. You have a few options.

You could rent out your own office space (which may be too expensive), you could work out of a coffee shop (which is not the most stable solution), or you could join a coworking space.

In this ultimate Dubai coworking guide, I’ll answer every question you ever had about coworking (and maybe even some you didn’t), to help you figure out if coworking is for you!

What does coworking mean?

Coworking comes from the comibination of 2 words: co (short for co-operative) and working.

To give our own definition, coworking means to work in a shared cooperative environment, while not necessarily working for the same company. The AstroLabs Dubai Coworking space for example has over 200 members from over 100 companies (here is a  full list of our Dubai companies).


Who invented coworking?

Coworking was invented in 2002 by John Coworker outside of rural Connecticut. Actually it wasn’t, we just made that up. Coworking has actually been around in one form or another since the mid 90’s in the form of “hackerspaces” where computer enthusiasts used to gather share their love of technology together in a collaborative working environment. Today, the industry has matured a bit, and now it is a serious option for both startups and larger companies that are looking for a shared cooperative working environment (without the need to rent or purchase their own office space).

How does coworking work?

Coworking is fairly simple. If you want to partake in coworking, all you need to do is join a coworking space, which is a paid space that you rent to work out of. In a way, it’s like a gym membership for working.

Why should you use coworking spaces?

You may have a few questions.  Why should you use a coworking space?  Why is a coworking space better than a regular office? What are the benefits of a coworking space?

To answer those questions, the main benefits of joining a coworking space are threefold:

  1. Convenience: The main appeal of coworking spaces are their plug and play nature. You don’t have to worry about buying furniture, paying for electricity, setting up Wifi, buying coffee or even cleaning bathrooms! You just signup to a coworking space and come to work. Also some Dubai coworking spaces (like AstroLabs, who also has a Riyadh coworking space) even offer streamlines business setup and licensing with a dedicated account manager, which saves you a ton of time when registering your business in the UAE.
  2. Pricing: It’s a fact, coworking for smaller teams is just cheaper. Instead of paying for rent, utilities, amenities and even business licensing fees as a lump sum, you can pay a lower price, and improve your cashflow by paying monthly. At AstroLabs for example, it is estimated that our members save roughly $12,000 in their first year alone!
  3. Community: Working alone is hard. If you’re on a small team, working remotely, or are expanding to a new office, it can not only be hard to network, but it can also be lonely! One of the benefits of joining a coworking space (in Dubai or anywhere else), is that you often get plugged into an existing network. That lends you credibility, can bring you more clients and business, and also gives you an in-person support network to lean on. Most coworking spaces have dedicated events and a community platform to share opportunities (jobs and referrals), not to mention the synergy (sorry to use such a cliched word) you get from working in a collaborative shared community environment.

What do you get from a coworking space / What do coworking spaces offer?

A lot! Coworking spaces offer a lot of ameneties and benefits. Depending on the coworking space, some examples of what’s included are:

  • Business Licensing
  • 24/7 Access
  • WiFi
  • Bookable Meeting Rooms
  • Community events and mentorship
  • Mail service
  • Free Coffee
  • A collaborative network

All of these are some of what we offer at the AstroLabs Dubai Coworking Space.

How much does coworking cost?

The cost of coworking fluctuates depending on if the location offers daily, weekly, or monthly pricing. There are also different levels of access (depending on the time of day or 24/7), as well as if you need to get your company registered or if you’re just looking for a place to work out of. On average though, for Dubai  you can expect to pay between 750 to 3,500 AED a month.

Do I need a trade license in Dubai?

If you want to do business in Dubai and the UAE, you probably need a business license. By registering your company and obtaining a business license, you can: 1) Legally invoice in the name of your company 2) Open a business bank account and 3) Sponsor employee work visas.

What are the types of trade licenses in Dubai?

There are basically two types of trade licenses you can obtain in Dubai:

  1. A mainland license: Which needs a local UAE partner to be a shareholder in your company
  2. A freezone license: Which allows any nationality to 100% register and own their own company.

Do coworking spaces provide licenses?

Some coworking spaces in Dubai (like AstroLabs) also provide you with a freezone trade license. That means that you can legally register your company through the coworking space directly (who are usually partnered with a freezone, like the DMCC freezone in JLT Dubai).

Who needs coworking spaces?

So, who is coworking ideal for? Based on our own research we found that there are three main types of people that benefit from coworking:

  1. Businesses looking to expand to new markets. If a company is looking to start doing business in a new geography, it often makes sense to start small by joining a coworking space, before they start renting out their own offices.
  2. Startups looking for a place to grow from. If you’re in your startup journey, you need an affordable place to work and a support community. Coworking spaces provide both of those.
  3. People working on side hustles.  If you’re still working a 9 to 5, you may want a nice clean reliable space to work in after hours. Coworking spaces can be perfect for that, and often have special after hour (or moonlighter) deals.

Who uses coworking spaces?

The short answer is anyone! At the AstroLabs Dubai coworking space for example, some of the names you might have heard of that at some point have been members of our Dubai coworking space include: Deliveroo, Deezer, Shedul, Seez, and many more (check out our full list of Dubai Coworking space members)!

Here is a breakdown of the type of companies that we’ve come across at AstroLabs Dubai

AstroLabs Members Dubai Coworking Industries

Which coworking space is the best in Dubai?

We’re naturally a bit biased, but as the only Google for Startups and IBM and Facebook partnered coworking space and learning  center in the MENA region, we would definitely say the AstroLabs Dubai coworking space!

Are coworking spaces worth it?

We would say definitely so! If you’re considering a Dubai Coworking space, we’d be honored to welcome you at AstroLabs!

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