Published: 13 Dec 2022
Updated: 31 Jul 2023
Category: Serviced Office , Flexible Workspace , Workspace

3 Overlooked Benefits of a Third Place in a Flexible Workspace

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The 'third place' is a term coined by urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg. He describes it as an informal public gathering place that is a vital part of the human society for many decades now. It is separate from the home (the first place) and the office (the second place). The types of interactions that take place in the third place can be superficial, social, or functional. But there is one thing in common about this type of settings: they offer a relaxed ambiance where people come to let their guard down and develop social bonds (whether new or old). 

When first introducing the concept of the “third place” in 1989, Oldenburg identified a few common areas that fall within this category. Among them are the coffee shops, taverns, local diners, and bars. However, it could be any social gathering place that has great accessibility, has regular patrons, comes with a playful mood, and encourages people to converse. 

With the growing popularity of a flexible workspace, especially with many offices still adapting to the hybrid work setup, it is important that these workspaces also introduce the “third place” in their design. These are socially focused lobby spaces alongside the ones designed for work purposes. 

 

Advantages of Using Third Place 

Third place working has exploded in popularity following the pandemic. More people are choosing to work in this environment because they have a more dedicated space for work than they would at home. At the same time, it offers a change of scenery from the office such that you can get the mental stimulation you need to be productive while being recharged at the same time.

There are many advantages of a third place in a flexible workspace as your third place, but they fall under three main categories: 

•    Promotion of Creativity: The environment stimulates your mind to explore new ideas or new ways of thinking.
•    Positive Vibes: It helps you recharge and refocus so you can be in a better mood at work. 
•    Increased Profitability: It improves productivity levels because employees feel more engaged and valued. 

 

Overlooked Benefits of Having a Third Place in a Flexible Workspace

The above-mentioned advantages showcase the importance of having a third place in your community workspace. But that list is merely scratching the surface. There are more in-depth benefits that you can get from using a third place in a flexible workspace that make it a suitable option for organisations and their employees.

1. Build a Business Network to Reap Opportunities

One of the overlooked benefits of having a third place in the community is the opportunity to meet a diverse set of people. These social places encourage people from all walks of life and putting yourself in that situation allows you to potentially connect with a diverse mix of people that you wouldn’t otherwise connect with in life. 

The opportunity to mingle and meet like-minded professionals from various backgrounds can enrich your social and networking status. It could open up new doors to business and professional opportunities that you wouldn’t acquire elsewhere. Many experts agree that bridging social capital is the tool for “getting ahead” in the business and professional world. 

2. Revive Personal Well-Being

Organisations that utilise a community workspace no longer restrict themselves to the traditional office-like amenities, such as meeting rooms, enterprise-grade IT infrastructure, and collaboration spaces. There is now a shift in focus toward access to social amenities, such as lounge or lobby spaces, restaurants or communal dining spaces, a gym, and more. Simply put, employers are looking for third places in a flexible workspace to promote a healthy work-life balance. 

Working for a long period in isolation at home has opened up employers to the reality that social engagement is integral to employee productivity. Without the personal connection, the employees’ mental and physical well-being declines. 

3. Strengthen Bonding within the Community

Third places are invaluable in the modern workplace setting because it fosters inclusiveness and a sense of belonging to the community. Aside from impacting one’s mental and physical well-being, strengthening your community ties is also critical to an individual’s productivity level. It’s all about boosting your social capital, which is what humans naturally crave.

Urban planners are now looking at providing more third places in the community design to strengthen the sense of community. Flexible workspace providers are also treating the design of their workspace solutions in the same way to meet the demands of individuals utilising community workspace.

 

How Does a Third Place Help in the Development of Flexible Office Space Provider? 

It’s undeniable that the need for a third place will impact the design and development of a flexible workspace in the future. Flexible offices providers must take note of the following as the potential drivers that could impact how you approach your solutions in the future.

•    Cost-effectiveness: Flexible workspace providers must provide flexible leasing solutions to match the needs of businesses of all sizes in using their community workspace. For example, you can offer terms as low as one month for startups that require their employees to have access to a third place and make significant productivity gains while scaling your needs to match the demands of your growing business. 
•    Versatility: Flexible offices providers must be more intentional in creating the design of their spaces. With a higher demand for social spaces, make sure to emphasise the third place concept into your layout to optimise the opportunity for individuals to meet and network other members of the community.
•    Productivity: Productive spaces will remain a crucial part of the flexible office space development. However, productivity could come from different methods. For some, it requires frequent breaks and for others it would mean having access to private rooms. Make sure you can meet any of those needs to maintain productivity.

 

Conclusion

As more companies rely on a flexible office space in a hybrid work setup, third places will continue to play a critical role in maintaining work productivity in this new norm of working. Flexible office spaces providers can look at it as an excellent opportunity to address the needs of their target market and provide the workspace solutions of the future. 

For companies, don’t make the mistake of overlooking the additional benefits of a third place in a flexible office space. Use this as an opportunity to expand your network and open up more business opportunities, promote mental and physical well-being of your employees, and strengthen community ties. 

 

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