Set aside HDB blocks for home offices

The Housing Board should designate a few blocks of three-room or bigger flats in each estate as Small Office, Home Office (Soho) blocks.

These blocks will operate like any private residences cum commercial offices, with similar rules.

Such a scheme will overcome the problems of the Home Office Scheme, which has many restrictions, including on noise, walk-in customers and number of employees.

Soho blocks will fit in well with the trend of the gig economy.

This would also allow older residents who find it harder to find employment to do business from their homes, with lower start-up costs and risks.

If the housing estate has no land to build new Soho blocks, existing blocks can be converted, if 80 per cent of the residents vote to do so.

This will improve the value of their homes as well.

Pang Meng Hock

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 26, 2017, with the headline 'Set aside HDB blocks for home offices'. Print Edition | Subscribe