Tampines Regional Library in Singapore revamps to create room for flexible workspaces in 2017. This announcement was made by Minister for Communications and Information, Yaacob Ibrahim at New Ways of Work Conference 2016 held at Marina Bay Sands last week.
This new flexible workspaces to be called ‘Smart Work Centres’ are already open in libraries in Jurong, Toa Payoh and Geylang East serving more than 1,500 people including entrepreneurs and freelancers since 2014.
“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,” Dr Yaacob was quoted by Channel News Asia.
Mr Khoong Hock Yun, assistant chief executive of Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), said the Tampines Regional Library was chosen as it has sufficient space and a larger crowd. “Regional libraries have a lot of reading resources, so some of the people who are using our Smart Work Centres found it useful that they have access to things like newspapers, magazines and reference journals.”
The workspace at Tampines will occupy about 160 sqm to include amenities like secure Wi-Fi, printing, copying and video-conferencing services. Apart from provision of infrastructure to encourage taking up more flexible work arrangements, the next step Government plans to initiate is to educate 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. This is a part of the Government’s effort to promote work-life balance by supporting development of alternative workspaces.
Recognizing the blurring of global borders owing to advancements in technology and work no longer confined to a physical space, Dr Yaacob believes that flexibility and productivity can go hand in hand if companies bring about a change in mindset.
The change in mindset shift is important to attract and retain talent as a new generation of workers, the millennials enters the workforce. People who wish to use the facilities at the existing centres need to register with workplace solutions provider Regus, which runs the centres, to gain access, Straits Times reports.
Each centre will accommodate upto 47 people and the spaces are subject to availability. Rental charges range from about $20 a day for desk space, to $399 a month for a private cubicle. Hourly rentals for workspaces are also available.
Considering the demand for such workspaces in Singapore, Regus’ area director Sheena Goh told Today Online that, “Regus has seen membership for such spaces double to about 3,000 over the past year, compared with the year before.”
Members pay a S$99 monthly membership fee, before Goods and Services Tax (GST), that affords access to 27 Regus locations islandwide, including the three Smart Work Centres as well as Regus’ business lounges globally.
Echoing the sentiment of culture of trust and mindset shifts, Dr Yaacob reiterated in his speech, “Instead of getting employees to clock hours, employers need to shift towards a more outcome-oriented approach. Employees, too, have to play their part in meeting work targets and expectations.”