Settling down in Dubai

Blog   |   22nd July 2021

We've caught up with Head of Digital, Ben Grove, to find out about his new life living in Dubai.

With Ben’s recent move to Dubai, the team couldn’t wait to catch up with him on how he’s settling into his new home.

How have your two months in Dubai been?

It’s been extremely exciting! I’ve always loved exploring and new experiences, and the past few weeks have certainly not disappointed me on that front.

It was definitely daunting at first. It was a huge contrast moving from the countryside of Oxfordshire to be amongst the skyscrapers of Dubai. But throwing myself headfirst into everything out here has been fantastic. The ex-pat community and locals alike are all so willing to make you feel welcome, all offering great insights into places to go and things to see.

The business has got off to a strong start too. Bringing our wealth of knowledge and 33 years of experience has got people talking and helped position ourselves right where we want to be. We’ve got some promising contacts and exciting clients already, and hopefully, this all continues to grow!

What’s the biggest difference you’ve noticed with working in Dubai compared to the UK?

There are various elements that you find yourself naturally getting used to quite quickly, but funnily enough, the thing I have noticed the most is the similarities.

With around 90% of the population being ex-pats, a lot of business practices carry over. The way we position ourselves as a full-service agency with expertise in-house hasn’t changed, along with forming those close relationships with clients and really getting to know their business. It’s what has allowed us to celebrate our 33rd birthday this year and continues to be at the heart of everything we do.

How are you finding the new office?

The office has been brilliant. We have our own private space but being within the co-working space has been beneficial in various ways. The facilities are fantastic, as soon as I had the keys I was back working and communicating with the team with no issues. There are a host of networking opportunities as well as plenty of great companies surrounding us.

The overall atmosphere of the space and city, in general, is infectious. Dubai is full of ambition, motivation and passion.

A huge plus is that the commute takes me past some of Dubai’s most beautiful sights. The Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa and Museum of the Future just to name a few. I love the start and end of each day.

I do miss having the team around me. But if the past year has taught us anything it’s that we can continue to deliver the same high standard of work no matter where in the world we may be. Communication has been key, not just in Dubai but throughout COVID. Everyone has been very supportive, willing to make exceptions when needed and fully behind the new office.

This venture into Dubai wouldn’t have been possible without the great support of a strong team behind us. Everyone has made the transition much easier and allowed it to get off to a successful first few weeks.

What’s it like living in Dubai?

Because of the welcoming nature of all the personal and business contacts I’ve made, I felt settled very quickly.

A huge appeal of moving here was having so much to do on your doorstep, there certainly hasn’t been even a chance for a moment of boredom so far.

Although I am trying to be very careful of how easy things are to get to your doorstep. Coming from a town with a singular Indian restaurant on Just Eat, it’s very tempting when there are thousands of options between Deliveroo, Talabat, Zomato and all the other delivery apps. The Dubai stone is very much a real thing!

More than anything, it seems like the right place to be to take ads creative solutions to the next stage in its history. The ambitious, forward-thinking nature of the city and businesses within it aligns perfectly with where we aim to be, and it’s that attitude that has allowed us to continuously evolve over the years.

Have you had the chance to explore much of Dubai?

It’s certainly a bit trickier at the moment being the summer months. When it’s averaging 40-45° with 50% humidity, you spend your days trying to avoid the heat rather than enjoying it!

That being said, any spare moment I have had has been spent exploring, and yet I feel like I’ve barely scraped the surface. The tourist hotspots have been a great introduction to the city, but it’s been brilliant talking to those who reside here to find the hidden gems that you don’t find from a quick Google search. Plenty of restaurants, numerous coffee spots, a ski slope in the desert, snorkelling locations, after COVID it’s even been nice just to get back in a cinema!