By Shereen Shabnam

Entrepreneurship has spurred an increasing number of people to work from home or start up their own business, especially expats who now have access to multiple free zones allowing them to fully own their businesses.

Most expats opt for a Freezone license but prefer to work in more creative spaces like incubators, cafes and from home.


They manage their own finances; become their own HR and deal with administrative work, all while running a business. Most entrepreneurs work from home trying to create a work-life balance.


To work effectively at home, it becomes important to set up a working environment that works for the industry you are in and have a system within the workspace that allows you to effectively be your own HR with a contract that defines your scope of work and allows you to delegate what can be done by others.


Personally I have three offices working closely with multiple clients but having a designated workspace as one would have in a normal office but separately from the living room or bedroom helps me stay away from distractions and optimize productivity. Essentially, if you do not have staff, the HR considerations to put in place can be daunting.


The first step would be to set a scope of work as a HR would give you in a contract. This way, you can revisit the contract as a manager of your own business and see areas you may be neglecting or areas you need to add, such as PRO duties, which I found daunting. It also helped me learn to delegate to outside professional suppliers so I could focus on running my business.


Most HR units at the beginning orientate you and provide you with electronics and workspace that suits you best.

My best investment was a big desk with drawers, the latest HP printer that copied, scanned and printed all my documents, accessories that made me happy, especially coloured Post It notes in different sizes, a good smartphone and Apple notebook I could easily carry to meetings in my handbag.


Being my own HR is not the only role I have as a business owner – I had to create my own brand identity and do all my marketing.


This is in addition to PRO duties like visas, medical, remembering to renew the license and much more. Being in UAE helps as most of this work can be delegated to outside suppliers without hiring a full time HR.

The important way to stay sane is to ensure the contract you give yourself allows you the same benefits as what the HR of a bigger corporation would give you and take the annual air ticket, bonus, good healthcare so that you remain in good shape to run your business effectively.




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