After the pandemic changed the way people work, some companies decided to transform their spaces or even create new ones to offer an alternative for people who must fulfill their job duties remotely.
One of them is Switch, a Singapore company that has created a pay-per-minute desk at a booth that users can find in a nearby mall.
The pods cost around $3 (£2.15) an hour and are very similar to some booths that have been around in Japan for a few years, ever since Telecube and Cocodesk introduced their creations in hotel lobbies, convenience stores, and metro stations.
Each booth, which includes wipes and hand sanitizers, make for a decent and very compact workspace.
They have Wi-Fi, a fan to cool the environment, and a practical and functional chair. Switch stands have overhead lighting according to their purpose and a gray and white color scheme that avoids distractions.
The space is plain, comfortable, and does not overwhelm, despite not having great technological or ergonomic features.
The founder of Switch, Dominic Penaloza, explains the concept of the booths, saying: “I certainly would agree with the notion that part of the value proposition [of the booths] is that psychological separation that is created by a physical separation between work and home.”
Switch has opened more than 60 of its booths in Singapore alone.
Its pay-by-the-minute booths add to its project of 3,500 leasable desks in shared coworking offices, which are the typical way to hire somewhere to work. Switch’s goal is to establish itself as a company that offers innovative solutions for workers, expecting to place many more booths in Singapore and considering expansion abroad.
According to Mr. Penaloza, one of Switch’s advantages is its on-demand flexibility, which “means you pay only for what you use, and you can use them where and when you need it.”
He said that, while he believes the company would have launched its booths even without COVID-19, the pandemic led them to focus more on the business case. Recent surveys suggested that most employers would permanently adopt a hybrid work model when the health crisis ends, with staff working from home part of the time.
Switch also thinks that its project can offer a solution for employers since some corporate clients already allow their employees to charge the booth cost to the company.