Singapore Employees Work out of the Library

Three public libraries in Singapore allow workers to access office facilities in Smart Work Centres.

The first Smart Work Centres opened their doors to the public on Friday 30 May. The centres are based at libraries in Jurong, Geylang East and Toa Payoh and the development is part of an Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) initiative to enable people to work closer to home and facilitate better work-life balance and productivity. The scheme will be operated by flexible workspace provider Regus, in collaboration with the IDA and National Library Board.

These work centres offer a professional work environment designed to cater to different modes of work and are equipped with typical office facilities such as private workstations, meeting spaces and facilities such as secure WiFi, printing and video-conferencing services, the IDA stated.

Employers who offer flexible work arrangements will be able to tap on a more diverse recruitment pool such as home-makers, which may be especially beneficial in light of the tight labour market, IDA noted. Companies can also benefit from more flexibility in workspace planning and be more agile in matching real estate needs to dynamic conditions, it added.

Individuals can choose various payment schemes ranging from pay-by-hour to a monthly membership offering that provides unlimited access to the work centres. Some start-ups told Channel News Asia they found this to be a cheaper alternative to renting a physical office space, at least in the initial phase of starting a business.

Mr Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman at IDA, said in a statement: "The Smart Work Centre initiative is useful for large enterprises as well as small tech start-ups, and also helps with talent attraction and retention with a more engaged workforce."