You who enjoy Ergonoma’s articles one after the other, you have certainly noticed the impact of the pandemic on its editorial line. Normal you would say, beyond the many novelties trying to modify our working methods and approaches, it is the worker’s well-being which is put back at the center of the game. So here is another attempt o make new working solution even more safer. After work booths for offices, in gardens, train stations and even in your car… Here are the “booth” by the minute in shopping centers.
This initiative was born in Singapore, led by Switch, a coworking specialist. To the 3,500 offices that the company offers for rent, it is now necessary to add about sixty cabins in the shopping centers of the Asian city-state. And today, Switch wants to conquer the world.
Will Smale, BBC Singapore correspondent, was fed up with working from home. So he tested these work cabins by the minute in a European preview. He gives us a testimony that is both instructive and funny. So British in short …
A concept that relies on flexibility
The use of the working cabin costs 3 dollars an hour (a little less than 2.5 euros). Payment is made by the hour, which ensures complete flexibility. The number one asset of the offering according to company executives. “This means you only pay for what you use, and you can use them where and when you need them,” says Dominic Penazola, the founder of the company.
“The idea that part of the cabin value proposition is this psychological separation that is created by a physical separation between work and home,” he adds.
In short, the offer is aimed at remote workers who want a change of scenery from time to time. The cabins would help to relieve the pressure of constantly evolving in the same space. But at a time of tightening hygiene measures, is a cubicle used by everyone really a good idea?
A mixed user experience
Will Smale, not without some relief, discovers a whole disinfection kit upon entering the cabin. Cleanliness is not guaranteed, however. Switch specifies that the cleaning of the cabin is the responsibility of its operator. That is to say, in this case, to the manager of the shopping center. In any case, the BBC journalist will not meet anyone from his team. Obviously, wearing a mask is compulsory.
To start using the booth, you need to register using a contact tracing application at the entrance to the mall and then at the booth itself. To do this, you must use both the Switch application and the contact tracking application.
If the place is cramped, it allows for some insulation. It is equipped with all the options necessary for a serene job. Insulation but not total isolation. So the experience turned into a fiasco when the stores opened. The noise and the background music started to spin endlessly.
The volume, without making the job “impossible, was loud enough for the Shazam song ID app to tell me I was listening to pop stars Demi Lovato and Cardi B.”
While the idea of occupying an office after a stranger in a transient environment may seem absurd, it does have some advantages. Like that of clarifying the costs associated with remote working. Because few companies are participating yet in the home office of their employees. The Switch booth allows them to present the invoice to their employers. Who will be required to reimburse them as professional expenses. Phew, better than nothing really…