Singaporean government is leaving no stone unturned to digitize the nation and boost the startup ecosystem. It has been constantly rolling out initiatives to smoothen the working environment with world-class facilities and eventually transform the country into a financial hub.
Observing the shift in office culture where folks are no longer confined to a physical space, government came up with flexible workspaces to enable them to work closer to home, facilitating work-life balance and productivity. The facilities, first opened in 2014 at three locations – Jurong, Geylang East and Toa Payoh have served over 1,500 people including entrepreneurs and freelancers. Today, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim at the New Ways of Work Conference 2016 announced that fourth such centre will open at the revamped library at Tampines in 2017.
The workspaces are operated by flexible workspace provider Regus. They are launched by IDA and National Library Board to offer a professional work environment to cater to different modes of work. The new Regus Express Centre will cover about 160 sqm and include amenities like secure Wi-Fi, printing, copying and video-conferencing services. Yaacob said,
Month after month, the Smart Work Centres are almost fully occupied. In particular the Toa Payoh Smart Work Centre is so popular that it is full house every month for the last one-and-a-half years.
Khoong Hock Yun, assistant chief executive of Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), said the Tampines Regional Library was selected due to its capacity to accommodate a large chunk of people. He adds, the next step for the Government, after providing the workspace, is to focus on educating both employers and staff. The National Library Board will be calling a tender later this year to secure an operator for the new Smart Work Centre.
People who wish to avail the facilities at the existing centres need to register with Regus. Each centre can house up to 47 people, and space is subject to availability. They can choose to work there daily, drop in ad-hoc to access an office environment close to home, and also conduct meetings with clients. Rental charges vary from about $20 a day for desk space, to $399 a month for a private cubicle. Hourly rentals for workspaces are also available.