Is ‘Work-From-Booth’ the new thing?

Switch’s Booths takes the office space revolution to the next level where everyone can have his or her own private office on-demand.

4-seat Switch Booth at Marina One the Heart

As a result of the pandemic, more and more startup CEOs, entrepreneurs, and regular staff and management are working either from home or from cafes. But these aren’t ideal work environments.
Enter Switch with its innovative ‘office in a booth’ concept called Switch Booths. These booths, which are fully equipped, are placed in lobby areas of popular towers such as CapitaLand’s Capital Tower and Asia Square properties.
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The advantages of these booths are many – they enable people to park themselves for a short time before or after meetings to focus in a quiet and private environment where they can do stuff like zoom meetings which require a high degree of privacy.
The booths have met with unexpected demand prompting a second batch launch in Singapore recently in partnership with several major landlords such as CapitaLand, Mercatus, Paya Lebar Quarter, SingPost and others.
But Switch Booths are just one small part of the Switchplatform, which includes a fast-growing number of space partners who operate workspaces. The space partners include international coworking brands such as JustCo and The Executive Centre, local favorite coworking brands such as The Working Capitol and Crosscoop, major event space operators such as Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Services, and even hotels and residential spaces whose properties include workspace such as Capri and Populous. Switch offers a pure on-demand, pay per minute service, unlike other platforms that aggregate workspaces but sell subscriptions.
Like other on-demand apps like bike sharing and ride sharing, users pay only for the time they actually use. The Switch platform in Singapore now covers over 70 different locations, totaling over 6,300 desks, 56 meeting rooms, seven private offices, 16 event spaces, and over 100 Switch Booths. In addition, Switch has signed partnership contracts covering more than 150 different locations in Sydney, Melbourne, Shanghai and Beijing.

Asian Property Review talks to Switch’s CEO, Dominic Penaloza to find out more.

1.How did the first batch of Switch Booths perform?

The first batch of Switch Booths performed so well that we quickly proceeded to arrange for the second batch. The first batch of 60 Switch Booths are mostly located in 12 shopping malls in suburban and downtown Singapore, as well as some office towers such as Capital Tower and Asia Square, and even HomeTeams NS clubhouse and Colliwoo Coliving residential building.

The first batch of Switch Booths led to people queueing up to use them at some of the more popular locations. Switch Members gave us a lot of feedback that led Switch to create an advance booking feature. The next generation of Switch Booths will feature advanced booking, plus some other awesome features.

2.The concept of office booths is compelling. But would it be considered a bit too small?
Most Switch Members find the Switch Booths to be slightly more spacious than they expected. Plenty of Switch Members use the 4-person model just for their own individual use, so that’s a great solution for people who prefer more space.
3.What are the sizes of the booths?
Switch Booths are 3.2 and 1.8 sqms in area for the 4-person and 1-person models, respectively.
The first batch of Switch Booths led to people queueing up to use them at some of the more popular locations.
4.With economies reopening and people going back to work in their office, how would this impact demand for such ‘work from anywhere’ booths?
The future of work includes a much greater degree of ‘work from anywhere’ model. Study after study indicates that most employers are adopting a ‘hybrid workspace strategy’ wherein most of their employees can work outside the office in varying degrees such as one, two or three days per week.
Aside from this, most companies have roles such as sales or business development that require constant traveling within each city. These employees love Switch Booths as a superior option for parking themselves for a short time before or after meetings, or even to have the meeting in a 4-person Switch Booth such as in Capital Tower or Asia Square.
5.Also, with many getting used to Work from Home, would this not prove challenging in terms of demand?
Interestingly, survey after survey indicate that most employees actually prefer Work Near Home over Work From Home and Work From Office. Switch Booths are the ideal solution because they are located near home in the suburbs yet the setup is more professional, private and conducive compared to home.
6.Would the ‘pay-by-minute’ revenue model be too small to justify the investment?
Switch’s vision is to make real estate into a service that people can consume on-demand, paying only for what they use, and nothing more. ‘Pay-by-minute’ is the only way to achieve pure on-demand.
7.So far, how has the ‘pay per minute’ model performed for other services offered by Switch such as hot desks, meeting rooms, private offices and event spaces?
Switch offers hot desks in coworking centres and other similar environments such as the café in the Capri Hotel near Changi City Point, on a ‘pay-by-minute’ basis, not only Switch Booths.
Switch offers two kinds of usage types: Walk-In, which is pay-by-minute, and Booking, which tends to be pay-by-hour but Switch supports Booking units as granular as ‘pay-per-15-minutes’, so you could also say that Bookings are also pay-by-minute.
8.Apart from Sydney, Melbourne, Shanghai, Beijing, and Singapore, which other locations are being targeted next for the deployment of these booths? We have an upcoming announcement of a strategic deal with one of Asia’s largest landlords in another major city in Asia. In the long run, Switch believes that every major city in the world would have many Switch Booths. APR
Switch’s vision is to make real estate into a service that people can consume on-demand, paying only for what they use, and nothing more.

1-seat Switch Work Booths at Century Square

Switch Booths and the ‘Retail Revolution’
Why is it called a ‘retail revolution’? Shopping malls are being reinvented worldwide due to disruptions from e-commerce and Covid-19. Headlines in the US indicate that 25% of all malls will be shutting down in the coming years. Colourful stories have emerged such as an entire shopping mall becoming an Amazon warehouse. In the US, China, and elsewhere in Asia, shopping malls are repurposing towards more experiential spaces such as food & beverage, entertainment, and work.
The ‘Switch Booth Shop’ is part of this repurposing revolution. It converts retail real estate into workspace in a technology-driven way, a new form of unmanned coworking space where everyone can have their own private office on-demand.
Says Dominic Penaloza, CEO of Switch: “This is one of the fastest and easiest ways to reinvent portions of shopping malls for work purposes, as demonstrated in 27 malls in Singapore.”
Switch has recently launched its first ‘Switch Booth Shop’ in partnership with one of Singapore’s biggest landlords, the Singapore Housing & Development Board. This is a former retail shop space that is now filled with several Switch Booths, representing a new form of unmanned coworking space.
100% take-up rates for Didian’s project listings
Didian, a digital marketplace for developers and property agents, has transacted over RM2.2 bil worth of bookings since 2018.
Since 2018, developers who have leveraged on Didian platform, Malaysia’s first B2B marketplace for primary residential properties from developers, have seen 100% take-up rates on projects listed on the platform. Within a span of three years since its inception, Didian has transacted over RM2.2 bil worth of bookings, says Chow Nam Kit, Co-founder and Director of Didian.
The Didian platform automatically recommends agencies to developers’ projects based on its proprietary algorithm. It scans through 3,000 agents from over 400 agencies nationwide to find the best match for the projects. This expedites the selling and project marketing by leaps and bounds, says Chow.
“Developed in response to issues such as finding the right project to sell, cashflow problems and paperwork, which have been identified as the reasons for agents and negotiators leaving the industry, we developed our platform to empower agents to sell more and be more productive. For developers, our platform allows them to reach out to more agents which will enable them to have better sales volume,” he adds.
Didian offers a seamless and a pleasant experience for its partners, agencies and agents:

  • Every agent that signs up gets a mobile app, designed with a level of functionality and intuitiveness to help them reduce time and friction in selling property; Didian features digital booking, real-time data access and commissions status tracking, and supports back-end administrative processes;
  • 7-Day Express Commission; Didian pays fast commission to your agency upon SPA & LA signing. With Didian, you never have to worry about cashflow issues again!
  • Agent Cooperation Network (ACN)- maximise your conversion and let a Didian partner assist you to close a sale;
  • Sales Management Support – Get live updates on the booking made on the Didian App.

As for property developers, Didian offers an all-in-one platform to market, launch and sell projects:

  • Enjoy either in-person or virtual balloting events for your new projects that will be organised by Didian;
  • Developers can accelerate sales by leveraging on Didian’s wide network of agencies and agents immediatel;
  • Didian is able to offer market research, and sales and marketing strategies based on market trends;
  • Stay up-to-date on sales statuses from appointments and loan outcomes to SPA signings on the Didian Dashboard;

Didian’s end-to-end platform is designed to support developers at any stage of the project marketing lifecycle — pre-launch/post-launch/completion. 

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