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A desk is not always the best place to work. Getty Images

Design dilemma: The home office is dead; long live working from home



The first thing you need to know about your home office is this: do not, under any circumstances, build a home office. You definitely do need a space to work in at home, today more than ever, given that flexible hours and freelance jobs are on the rise. But the idea of converting a room – normally the smallest, pokiest, darkest corner of your house – into an office is a relic of the past.

We’ll get to practical design tips in a minute, but first a bit of background on work. Furniture company Herman Miller says we have three ways of working when we’re alone. They are: process and respond; contemplate; and create. Traditional office cubicles were designed for the “process and respond” stuff – filling out forms, answering emails, data entry etc. And if you think about the traditional home office set-up (desk, chair, filing cabinet and printer/copier/fax machine), it’s a carbon copy of a cubicle.

That may have worked in the past but in a knowledge economy, the value of “process and respond” work is shrinking fast. The high-value work – the stuff that earns the big bucks – falls under “contemplate” and “create”. And traditional offices are woefully bad at this.

So, what’s the solution? Take inspiration not from offices but from hotels.

First the lobby. Hotels are ripping out business centres as fast as they can because the lobby is the new hub for business travellers. How often do we see someone leaning back on a sofa with a laptop on their lap and a stack of papers, a smartphone and a coffee on a side table next to them? Many execs say they do their best, most creative work when they're on the road. At home, the living room is your ready-made lobby-style workspace.

Second is the bedroom. As with business centres, hotels are ripping out desks from guest rooms. Research shows that when business travellers are working in their room, they're either in a comfy armchair or spread out on the bed. A few quick hacks can give your bedroom that hotel feel: extra pillows so you can prop yourself up; better lighting; and a nice chair in the corner. If you live with a big, noisy family, this may be your best – or indeed only – option. 

Third is the cafe. Think long, shared ­tables with dining-style chairs. These have two great benefits: a flat surface and decent back ­support. This space is perfect for deep, focused work such as writing, designing and ­crunching numbers. It's also good for the "process and respond" stuff that still needs to be done, even if it's a side show, rather than the main ­performance. At home your dining room, kitchen table or breakfast bar can all perform this task with minimal upgrades: buy a decent chair or stool and make sure the lighting works – shade glare from south-facing windows and ensure enough man-made light for those 3am sessions. 

Finally, treat yourself to a few luxuries to uplift your home and create that inspiring hotel vibe. You'll need a coffee machine with designer mugs and tea pot, nice stationery and a Wi-Fi speaker to play cool background music.

Pallavi Dean, founder, Pallavi Dean Interiors, www.pallavidean.com,

Do you have any design dilemmas? Send them to homes@thenational.ae and we will get them answered by an expert

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Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

SPEC SHEET: APPLE M3 MACBOOK AIR (13")

Processor: Apple M3, 8-core CPU, up to 10-core CPU, 16-core Neural Engine

Display: 13.6-inch Liquid Retina, 2560 x 1664, 224ppi, 500 nits, True Tone, wide colour

Memory: 8/16/24GB

Storage: 256/512GB / 1/2TB

I/O: Thunderbolt 3/USB-4 (2), 3.5mm audio, Touch ID

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3

Battery: 52.6Wh lithium-polymer, up to 18 hours, MagSafe charging

Camera: 1080p FaceTime HD

Video: Support for Apple ProRes, HDR with Dolby Vision, HDR10

Audio: 4-speaker system, wide stereo, support for Dolby Atmos, Spatial Audio and dynamic head tracking (with AirPods)

Colours: Midnight, silver, space grey, starlight

In the box: MacBook Air, 30W/35W dual-port/70w power adapter, USB-C-to-MagSafe cable, 2 Apple stickers

Price: From Dh4,599

Retail gloom

Online grocer Ocado revealed retail sales fell 5.7 per cen in its first quarter as customers switched back to pre-pandemic shopping patterns.

It was a tough comparison from a year earlier, when the UK was in lockdown, but on a two-year basis its retail division, a joint venture with Marks&Spencer, rose 31.7 per cent over the quarter.

The group added that a 15 per cent drop in customer basket size offset an 11.6. per cent rise in the number of customer transactions.

UAE tour of the Netherlands

UAE squad: Rohan Mustafa (captain), Shaiman Anwar, Ghulam Shabber, Mohammed Qasim, Rameez Shahzad, Mohammed Usman, Adnan Mufti, Chirag Suri, Ahmed Raza, Imran Haider, Mohammed Naveed, Amjad Javed, Zahoor Khan, Qadeer Ahmed

Fixtures: Monday, first 50-over match; Wednesday, second 50-over match; Thursday, third 50-over match

Remaining fixtures
  • August 29 – UAE v Saudi Arabia, Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain
  • September 5 – Iraq v UAE, Amman, Jordan (venue TBC)
The specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 680hp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 800Nm at 2,750-6,000rpm
Transmission: Rear-mounted eight-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 13.6L/100km
On sale: Orderbook open; deliveries start end of year
Price: From Dh970,000

The Book of Collateral Damage

Sinan Antoon

(Yale University Press)

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

Where to donate in the UAE

The Emirates Charity Portal

You can donate to several registered charities through a “donation catalogue”. The use of the donation is quite specific, such as buying a fan for a poor family in Niger for Dh130.

The General Authority of Islamic Affairs & Endowments

The site has an e-donation service accepting debit card, credit card or e-Dirham, an electronic payment tool developed by the Ministry of Finance and First Abu Dhabi Bank.

Al Noor Special Needs Centre

You can donate online or order Smiles n’ Stuff products handcrafted by Al Noor students. The centre publishes a wish list of extras needed, starting at Dh500.

Beit Al Khair Society

Beit Al Khair Society has the motto “From – and to – the UAE,” with donations going towards the neediest in the country. Its website has a list of physical donation sites, but people can also contribute money by SMS, bank transfer and through the hotline 800-22554.

Dar Al Ber Society

Dar Al Ber Society, which has charity projects in 39 countries, accept cash payments, money transfers or SMS donations. Its donation hotline is 800-79.

Dubai Cares

Dubai Cares provides several options for individuals and companies to donate, including online, through banks, at retail outlets, via phone and by purchasing Dubai Cares branded merchandise. It is currently running a campaign called Bookings 2030, which allows people to help change the future of six underprivileged children and young people.

Emirates Airline Foundation

Those who travel on Emirates have undoubtedly seen the little donation envelopes in the seat pockets. But the foundation also accepts donations online and in the form of Skywards Miles. Donated miles are used to sponsor travel for doctors, surgeons, engineers and other professionals volunteering on humanitarian missions around the world.

Emirates Red Crescent

On the Emirates Red Crescent website you can choose between 35 different purposes for your donation, such as providing food for fasters, supporting debtors and contributing to a refugee women fund. It also has a list of bank accounts for each donation type.

Gulf for Good

Gulf for Good raises funds for partner charity projects through challenges, like climbing Kilimanjaro and cycling through Thailand. This year’s projects are in partnership with Street Child Nepal, Larchfield Kids, the Foundation for African Empowerment and SOS Children's Villages. Since 2001, the organisation has raised more than $3.5 million (Dh12.8m) in support of over 50 children’s charities.

Noor Dubai Foundation

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the Noor Dubai Foundation a decade ago with the aim of eliminating all forms of preventable blindness globally. You can donate Dh50 to support mobile eye camps by texting the word “Noor” to 4565 (Etisalat) or 4849 (du).

Know your camel milk:
Flavour: Similar to goat’s milk, although less pungent. Vaguely sweet with a subtle, salty aftertaste.
Texture: Smooth and creamy, with a slightly thinner consistency than cow’s milk.
Use it: In your morning coffee, to add flavour to homemade ice cream and milk-heavy desserts, smoothies, spiced camel-milk hot chocolate.
Goes well with: chocolate and caramel, saffron, cardamom and cloves. Also works well with honey and dates.

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo

Power: 201hp at 5,200rpm

Torque: 320Nm at 1,750-4,000rpm

Transmission: 6-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 8.7L/100km

Price: Dh133,900

On sale: now

New schools in Dubai
UAE tour of the Netherlands

UAE squad: Rohan Mustafa (captain), Shaiman Anwar, Ghulam Shabber, Mohammed Qasim, Rameez Shahzad, Mohammed Usman, Adnan Mufti, Chirag Suri, Ahmed Raza, Imran Haider, Mohammed Naveed, Amjad Javed, Zahoor Khan, Qadeer Ahmed
Fixtures:
Monday, 1st 50-over match
Wednesday, 2nd 50-over match
Thursday, 3rd 50-over match

PROFILE OF HALAN

Started: November 2017

Founders: Mounir Nakhla, Ahmed Mohsen and Mohamed Aboulnaga

Based: Cairo, Egypt

Sector: transport and logistics

Size: 150+ employees

Investment: approximately $8 million

Investors include: Singapore’s Battery Road Digital Holdings, Egypt’s Algebra Ventures, Uber co-founder and former CTO Oscar Salazar


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