With the pandemic and the changing attitudes of customers and employers, arguably, there has never been a better time to become a digital nomad. As many of us don’t have to be in an office, at least for the time being, the attitudes of employers / clients have changed dramatically. My clients being mainly FTSE 100/250 and Magic Circle law firms with international offices, they have always expected me to come to their offices to lead workshops, discussions and advice. However, on the first lockdown, I found myself working for hours on end streaming content online from my home office. As much as I love my house, I decided the second lockdown was a good time to try out life as a digital nomad in a sunnier climate with more freedom to go outside and enjoy a more ‘normal’ life. ‘.
As mentioned in my previous post, upon receiving information that the UK was facing a second lockdown, my husband and I took the opportunity to live the life of a digital nomad by working from there ‘foreign.
Having traveled extensively for vacation and business, we had a plethora of options, but Dubai stood out as the most viable option for 6 key reasons, in no particular order.
1) Force WiFi
An absolute must for anyone considering working overseas, this was a key deciding factor for me. I considered a variety of destinations that accepted tourists from the UK, but some were known to have inconsistent WIFI issues.
With the rest of the professional world, a large number of meetings are held via zoom, so making sure that the software works in that territory and that the WIFI power is strong enough to make video calls is a priority. One of the best things I have learned from my travels in Dubai is that if the WIFI is not working well enough for you with a call to the front desk most hotels have faster force service on which they can put you down if you ask very nicely!
Another obvious factor when considering working from another location is the cost, flights to Dubai are usually very profitable (except around Christmas or New Years). Dubai was ranked 9th in the world for the cities with the most hotel rooms, with 100,000 hotel rooms in 2017 and with them continually building, I’m sure that number has increased!
With a more recent count of 4,258 hotels in 2020 in Dubai, there is a hotel for every person, every taste and every budget. We had some ‘must-haves’ on our list of hotels – modern, with a desk, good light, and a balcony or outdoor space, and we wanted to try different areas of Dubai so we took a little tour of the city. ‘hotel.
Transportation is an important factor and local taxis are plentiful, the local taxi app “careem” is a much cheaper alternative to “uber”. There is also a metro system, which looks efficient but I haven’t tried it as taxi rides seem to be cheaper for two passengers and of course more convenient from door to door.
Of course, during a pandemic I would be fired for not mentioning the safety of Covid, when I left the UK for Dubai every person who flew in the country needed a negative Covid19 test 96 hours before departure. It certainly helped me to feel safe on the plane but also in the hotel and in the countryside. Dubai had a very strict 24 hour lockout and sanitation / sterilization process, which is probably the reason for their remarkably low death toll. To put it in perspective according to Google Daily Change Covid19 count that the UAE had 671 deaths from Covid19, compared to 348k in the United States, 74,125 in the United Kingdom and 1.83 million worldwide. This, together with an absolute requirement to wear a mask in any public space, certainly contributes to this feeling of health security.
When traveling as a woman personal safety is always a factor in travel considerations and I feel safe traveling to Dubai on my own.
Dubai has a lot to offer, it often feels like a city of towns, with a plethora of activities, restaurants and experiences at the end of a phone call or booking app. Literally it feels like Dubai has gone to every country and tried to replicate what they do and often do it better. From the world’s largest shopping mall, Dubai Mall, to an indoor ski slope, a 10 million liter Dubai Aquarium, one of the largest hanging aquariums in the world to a long list of the best restaurants and hotels. I also tried my fair share of brunches, which I’ll share in a separate article.
Whether it was the local entrepreneurs or the sudden influx of tourists who regularly land in Dubai, it felt like a fantastic melting pot of ideas and innovation. This is my 6th trip to Dubai, but my previous experiences last about a week. Having been here 8 weeks and counting, I had more time to organize meetings and let my juice flow by creating new concepts. My network has dramatically improved my experience.
6) Time difference
With the Dubai time zone 4 hours ahead of the UK, I have two fantastic options; get up early and get a head start or go out in the evening and get up in time for the UK. I have used both!
2020 has been a game-changer for the future of work, giving many people the option to work remotely, and if you’ve made the transition to the world of work online, you might also have the freedom to work wherever you are. . Sometimes a change of scenery and the ability to just go out and see people can get that creativity flowing. With many countries including UAE, Barbados and Bahamas etc. offering virtual work visas, maybe now is the time to try yourself as a digital nomad.