Spacent team · Oct 19th 2023
The Third Place in a Hybrid World: Why Your Employees Need More Than Just Home and Office
In today’s ever-evolving work landscape, there’s been a significant shift in how businesses approach their office space. While the discourse often revolves around the binary options of ‘office-centric’ vs. ‘remote work’, there is a third, often overlooked, space that has the potential to revolutionize how we view the hybrid work model – the Third Place.
The Guardian recently reported on a survey which highlighted that many large international firms are planning to reduce their office spaces. Surprisingly, while bigger companies are downsizing, smaller ones plan to expand their global office spaces. Most businesses are gravitating towards a hybrid model, but with such models come complexities. Many companies decide to cut on fixed office space due to low utilisation. Then why offer remote workspaces for employees if we can save on those costs too? Offering more options for employees is an investment for the future in terms of productivity, and commitment. Also when transitioning towards a workspace solution with more flexibility with on-demand third places, companies are creating more cost-efficient solutions in the future. Flexible workspace services enable more scalable growth in terms of office spaces, when companies are looking to grow without growing real estate footprint.
So, What is the “Third Place”?
Popularized by sociologist Ray Oldenburg in the late 1980s, the “Third Place” refers to spaces that aren’t our homes (‘first place’) or our offices (‘second place’). These are community spaces where we interact, collaborate, and recharge – think coffee shops, libraries, co-working spaces, and the like.
Why the Third Place Matters in a Hybrid World – this is what Spacent users say
- Flexibility and Choice: As one Spacent user highlighted, “The freedom to choose is important, to choose the space which works the best for me.” Having the choice to pick a workspace according to one’s mood, work requirements, or even the day’s itinerary can play a crucial role in boosting productivity and work satisfaction.
- Efficiency and Transition: Being stuck in one space can often hinder creativity. Another Spacent user commented on how transitioning between places during the workday made work smoother and more efficient. “While moving from one place to another during my work day, transitions and times between meetings are smooth to work during, also changing the scenery in terms of workspace is very refreshing.”
- Inspiration and Networking: Different environments can inspire new ideas. Not to mention, third places can often serve as great networking hubs, where professionals from different fields can connect organically.
- Convenience: “The spaces are way more conveniently located for me than our own office”, pointed out a Spacent user. Sometimes, a conveniently located third place can save commute time, helping employees strike a better work-life balance.
- Refreshing Interactions: Third places can also act as great spots for team meetings. As one user stated, “It’s super refreshing to meet colleagues somewhere new and have meetings in different places.”
- Adapting to Modern Work Challenges: With a majority of businesses transitioning to a hybrid work model, third places can provide a solution to the challenges of workspace obsolescence, as highlighted by Tim Armstrong from Knight Frank.
While businesses plan their future in a post-pandemic world, the idea of third places needs to be integrated into these plans. Not only can these spaces save costs for businesses, but they can also offer employees a more holistic work environment. This model could be a true representation of the hybrid work setting that the world is steadily moving towards.
In conclusion, the binary of home vs. office might be an oversimplification of the modern work experience. The third place bridges the gap, providing employees with the flexibility, convenience, and change of scenery they often crave, thereby potentially increasing productivity and job satisfaction.