Satellite offices to help improve work-life balance TAN WEIZHEN – 09 MARCH SINGAPORE — To support the quest for better work-life balance, the Government will be carrying out various initiatives to support working from home, such as the introduction of satellite offices located nearer to homes. These Smart Work Centres will come with facilities and will be shared by employees of different companies, said Minister for Communications and Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, who also announced improvements to infrastructure for services like [email protected], during his ministry’s Committee of Supply debate yesterday.
Noting that several Members of Parliament (MPs) had called for greater use of technology to boost productivity, Dr Yaacob said home-based work “can help Singaporeans better balance their work-life commitments and minimise travel during peak hours”. Singapore’s economy would also benefit from the increased labour force participation, while businesses could derive long-term cost savings in office space rental. The Infocomm Development Agency (IDA) is working with the National Library Board to pilot such centres at selected libraries.
The Public Service will also be piloting this concept at several ministry buildings, including the Treasury, for use by public officers from participating agencies. The agency has also embarked on pilots for home-based work with six companies from the healthcare, education and telecommunications industries. Among them is home-nursing care provider Rasa Sayang, which allows nursing staff to access assignments and information on patients remotely.
Meanwhile, the capacity and speed [email protected] will be ramped up and its login process simplified. Instead of having to repeatedly enter one’s login information, the improved network will be able to recognise registered users through the SIM cards in their phones. The IDA will also be revising the Code of Practice for Infocommunication Facilities in Buildings to ensure buildings set aside adequate space to support quicker deployment of mobile services.
Telcos have long had issues with building owners who either delayed the process or rejected such requests, leading to a slowdown in works to improve the mobile networks. Five MPs yesterday called for the greater use of ICT to help businesses, especially small and medium enterprises, to boost their productivity, as they undergo restructuring over the next few years.
Mr Sitoh Yih Pin (Potong Pasir) said: “This can include a one-stop training centre to equip SME staff with the skills to use ICT, as well as getting SME owners to adopt ICT in their business in a holistic way, so as to overcome the current and near future manpower crunch. ” Mr Low Thia Khiang (Aljunied GRC) added that internet speed is critical to home-based work initiatives, and questioned why speed is not part of the IDA’s quality standards. Responding, Dr Yaacob said the ministry does its own studies for broadband speeds. Tan Weizhen