Work booths to offer 'work near home' solution for residents in year-long pilot

These booths can be rented at per-minute charges. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
Switch has over 80 booths located in shopping malls islandwide. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

SINGAPORE - Residents seeking a quiet space to work from outside the office or home can now rent work booths installed at the Trivelis Residents Network centre at Block 311B along Clementi Avenue 4 and at the Bukit Timah Community Club from Thursday (Dec 16).

Seven work booths have been installed at the two venues under the year-long "Switch Work Booths for Community" pilot, which will trial the use of the booths and gauge their popularity in the community.

These booths can be rented at per-minute charges, with a minimum charge of $1. A single-seater booth will cost $2.40 per hour, while a four-seater one costs $4.80 per hour.

Residents can use a booth by scanning a QR code displayed on the booth with the Switch app. They can also use the app to check if a specific booth is being used, but advance bookings are not currently offered.

Users must remain fully masked, and eating and drinking are not allowed inside the booths.

The programme is a collaboration between the People's Association (PA), the Housing Board (HDB) and workspace provider Switch.

Two single-seater booths and one four-seater booth are located at the Trivelis Residents Network, while Bukit Timah Community Centre has two booths of each size.

Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Sim Ann said: "Working from home is here to stay, but neighbourhood noise, such as ongoing renovation works or nearby construction, are real pain points for those who are trying to get work done, or make conference calls."

She added: "I hope this pilot can scale up successfully, to complement our move to proactively inform HDB residents of ongoing approved renovations in their block via the OneService App."

Mr David Zhao, vice-president at Switch, said: "These special work booths are meant to serve the community by providing a solution that is affordable, flexible and convenient for our workforce to remain productive in their neighbourhoods."

The booths are a welcome option for professionals, said Clementi resident Arvind Kumar, 33.

"I think the price is pretty reasonable if you need to get on a call or get work done," said Mr Arvind, a manager in the public sector.

He added that the booths could also be used by home tutors and their students, as they might find it difficult to carve out a space for their lessons.

Another resident, Mr Omar Majinon, 42, said that he would not be using them as he has "the luxury of a home office".

However, he noted that the booths could be an appealing solution for those living with parents or young children.

Residents can use a booth by scanning a QR code displayed on the booth with the Switch app. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

"The booths can offer a respite from the tension that may arise when everyone is working from home," said Mr Omar, a content producer.

"Living with small children at home presents challenges, as Zoom meetings can get quite lively when a marching band of toddlers decide to stroll through the room mid-presentation."

Mr Zhao said that Switch may expand the scheme depending on the success of the pilot programme.

The PA and HDB are subsidising the operating and maintenance costs of the booths, allowing for lower rates in the community during the pilot, he said.

Other than the seven that were launched on Thursday, Switch has over 80 booths located in shopping malls islandwide as well.

The booths, which cost $5.40 per hour in malls and $10.80 per hour in the CBD, are used for an average of three to six hours each day, Mr Zhao said.

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