Continuing our series of blogs exploring our top 8 workplace trends for 2018, here’s a look at the importance of the fourth space.
What is the Fourth Space?
Starbucks famously describes itself as the “third space”; the first being home, and the second being the workplace. However, recently a fourth kind of space has been on the rise: the coworking space. This is what’s known as the “fourth space”.
Coworking spaces are large, shared offices that individuals or businesses pay a subscription fee to use. The massive rise in the number of people working as freelancers has brought with it a massive rise in the popularity of coworking spaces: it’s forecast that by 2020, around 4 million workers will be using coworking spaces and that these account for around 2% of the US office market.
What are the benefits?
The fourth space gives workers increased control over their day-to-day lives. Their hours are long and their layouts are varied. Additionally, desks in coworking spaces are cheaper to rent and the leases are shorter. Because coworking spaces allow us to work the way we like, some of the world’s largest businesses have taken to using them as well: for instance, IBM recently signed a membership deal for all of the desks in WeWork’s 88 University Place in Downtown New York.
Self-employment can be lonely at times, but in the fourth space you’ll always be surrounded by like-minded people with similar hopes and dreams. This can be a great motivator and also a lot of fun.
The communities that naturally form within the fourth space are a melting pot of creatives, entrepreneurs, investors and accelerators all working under the same roof. Each of the different types of expertise you need to run a successful business can often be found within the space of just a few desks, and workshops and talks are frequently on offer too. Furthermore, coworking spaces are also great places to find new clients.
The best coworking spaces provide lifestyle benefits like exercise and wellbeing classes, educational courses, healthy refreshment areas and quiet spaces for relaxation and reflection.
What makes a great Fourth Space?
It’s not just the people you meet that should inspire you – it’s also the design of the space itself. So when Regus, the world’s largest provider of virtual office rentals and coworking spaces, revamped their hireable office interiors, they chose our attractive Zee Bench desks and our customisable HotLocker storage system. Likewise, when high-end fourth space provider ATLAS Workbase opened in the heart of Seattle, they also chose our HotLocker Agile system of electronic lockers for keeping items safe. This kind of storage is one of the great advantages that the fourth space has over the third space – nobody really wants to have to bring their computers and work documents to and from a coffee shop everyday. It’s much more practical to have a regular, secure and professional base for your business.
Other Spacestor products which have proved very popular include our Bleachers system of modular seating, our Palisades system of stylish zone dividers and our Railway Carriage meeting pods – all of which contribute to making the sort of flexible, agile coworking spaces that today’s most talented workers expect. The fourth space continues to change the way we work – and in doing so, to help businesses to grow and grow.