The third space: What it is and why you need one
As technology in the workplace changes and grows, so do its users. Tech-savvy employees no longer want to slave away at their desks. Any why should they?
With more connected workers on the move, the office landscape as we know it is drastically changing. The traditional 9-5 is out and a mobile working revolution is taking place.
But all this creativity has to start somewhere. Enter the third space.
What is the third space?
At is simplest, the third space is a place between the grind of the office and the familiar warmth of home. Somewhere comfortable and informal for employees to drop into, get connected and be inspired.
It could be a dedicated free business hub like the Business & IP Centre at the British Library, or a pay-as-you-work affair, such as Café Ziferblat in the achingly hipster tech hub of Old Street, London.
Even coffee shops are getting in on the act, providing an atmospheric buzz before you’ve even touched your first latte. Free wi-fi, instant access to the cloud and even wireless charging make the ‘coffice’ (yes, really!) a great place work from.
But a third space doesn’t even have to be outside the office. Many businesses are creating them within their own four walls. It could mean transforming a neglected break-out area into a bespoke workspace for an office of hundreds, or simply replacing that sad-looking yukka plant in the kitchen corner with some comfortable seating.
Why do I need a third space?
A 2012 Regus poll discovered a whopping 72% of businesses reported an increase of productivity with flexible working. Managers now realise that big lightbulb moments can and do happen away from the office.
Third spaces are dynamic, innovative areas that can change according to your needs. From a soft, inviting area for networking to a small, quiet pod for individual thought. Ideas flow freely, collaborative efforts become greater than the sum of their parts and productivity grows. Employees report a shift in favour of their work-life balance, increasing job satisfaction and retention.
And let’s face it. That static desk space – the one employees often prefer not to work from – isn’t cheap. More mobile workers mean more empty desks, and empty desks mean wasted money, particularly in large cities with high rents. With these employees away from their desks, a shift towards flexible working can free up some well-needed space.
Worried about where to put the gym kit? Don’t be. With plenty of storage solutions available that not only keep personal belongings safe, but look great too, there’s no reason not to embrace the third space.