Instead of homes, public libraries and community centres could soon be providing alternative venues to work from.

The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) yesterday identified three libraries and two community venues that will be considered for its first batch of Smart Work Centres (SWCs).

They are Jurong Regional Library, Geylang East Public Library, Toa Payoh Public Library, Kampong Ubi Community Centre and Kolam Ayer Community Club.

These centres, targeted at workers whose homes are less conducive for work, will be rented out to bosses who can set up a mini-office for staff on flexi-work arrangements.

They will have meeting rooms and come with office equipment such as printers and video conferencing facilities.

The IDA said these locations are within residential areas and can "encourage operators to set up centres closer to where employees live".

It has also put out a call for proposals for parties interested in operating these centres, adding that the operators can propose other locations. The deadline for proposals is June 21.

The National Library Board (NLB) is setting aside some 4,700 sq ft of space - the size of four five-room flats - at the three libraries.

At Jurong Regional Library, for instance, an existing public reading area will be converted for SWC use.

Operators will pay NLB $1.50 per sq ft (psf) a month and will have to set up their own power lines and cabling. The People's Association, which manages community clubs, has offered about 1,500 sq ft at 39 cents psf a month.

The average cost of office space at Shenton Way is $7.25 psf per month, according to latest DTZ Research figures.

The five locations were offered because they are easily accessible by public transport and are near amenities such as childcare centres and banks, NLB and PA said.

The IDA said it will subsidise the initial set-up cost of the centres, although it would not specify the amount.

Mr Clement Teo, a senior analyst at research firm Forrester, said while the SWCs are a good idea, there might be a concern about data privacy if multiple companies share the same work space.