Address by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, at the Official Opening of the Smart Work Centres

30 May 2014 - Address by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, at the Official Opening of the Smart Work Centres on Friday, 30 May 2014, 10.15am, at the Jurong Regional Library.

Address by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, at the Official Opening of the Smart Work Centres on Friday, 30 May 2014, 10.15am, at the Jurong Regional Library

Ladies and gentlemen,

1. I am happy to join you today for the official opening of the Smart Work Centres, located at the Jurong Regional Library, Geylang East Public Library and the Toa Payoh Public Library.

2. A collaboration between the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), National Library Board (NLB) and Regus, these centres encourage New Ways of Work. Increasingly, companies are seeking new avenues to keep pace with the changing expectations of the workforce. Employees may need more collaborative and flexible forms of work that allow them to contribute from virtually anywhere, with almost anyone and at different times. At the same time, the pace of technological advancement has driven the need to collaborate and engage across a broader workgroup to obtain quick and effective results.

3. Greater connectivity and improved infocomm technology enable employers and employees to explore innovative work arrangements while allowing Singaporeans to enjoy the convenience of working closer to home. The nationwide deployment of the National Broadband Network or NBN, makes implementing home-based work and Smart Work Centres more attractive as the network offers pervasive, affordable broadband connection that supports major office functions such as high quality video-conferencing and cloud computing.

4. Smart Work Centres are alternative working spaces with professional facilities located within residential estates. Employees can look forward to better work-life balance and improved productivity by having access to professional collaborative spaces which are closer to home. At the same time, employers offering flexible work arrangements would be able to tap on a more diverse recruitment pool, such as homemakers. Flexible work arrangements can also provide companies with effective and sustainable means of managing office space growth requirements and allow companies to be cost-competitive.

5. For a start, we have located these centres within the libraries. Besides being able to access the centres in a convenient manner and work closer to home, users are able to browse the libraries' collection of books, information resources and audio visual materials which can aid in their professional development. Our libraries are already well-loved reading and learning spaces for people from all walks of life, and are integral parts of the community. We know that Singaporeans' lifestyles are increasingly mobile and flexible, as work, learning and play often overlap. Introducing smart work centres in library spaces is hence one way the libraries are transforming to cater to these changing lifestyles.

6. The addition of business facilities will give users the additional option to work in an environment with innovative features to further enhance their productivity. Users have a range of options to choose from such as modern day workstations with high speed internet access and high definition video conferencing facilities to allow face-to-face meetings to be conducted virtually.

7. IDA will continue to explore locating more Smart Work Centres in community areas. It will also continue to work with partners, such as the Employer Alliance, Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), Ministry of Manpower (MOM), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) - Women's Development Secretariat (WDS) and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) to reach out to more employers and individuals.

8. These are part of the Government's wider focus to encourage more employers to adopt more work-life friendly practices such as flexible work arrangements. For example, the WorkPro Programme was jointly developed by MOM and WDA with the tripartite partners, NTUC and SNEF, to encourage job redesign and the adoption of flexible work arrangements to support staff attraction and retention, and better work-life harmony. Employers may tap on the funding available to invest in infocomm technology, training and consultancy to adopt home based arrangement and Smart Work Centres.

9. Progressive workplace practices like work-life harmony and flexible work arrangements contribute towards an engaged workforce. Besides working hard, we also need to 'work smart'. By using technology as an enabler, we want to introduce solutions that are able to enhance productivity and improve our quality of life.

10. On this note, I would like to officially declare the Smart Work Centres operated by Regus at Jurong Regional Library, Geylang East Public Library and Toa Payoh Public Library open.

11. Thank you.

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023