Monday 11th April 2022
What is the third workplace

There is a popular misconception that hybrid working involves a simple choice between two options: working from home or working in the office. For some businesses this may be a reality but for those who truly want to take advantage of the benefits that come from a flexible and connected workforce, there is another option: the third workplace.

But what and where is the mysterious new third place and how can it fit into your hybrid work policy? Let us explain.

What is the third workplace

Close encounter with the third kind

The third workplace can exist because we live in a world where people are able to work from virtually anywhere. All that’s usually required is a decent wi-fi connection and a little bit of desk space.

The location of the third workplace is therefore open to many possibilities: a local cafe, a hired meeting room, or even a park if the weather is favorable enough. What all these venues have in common is that they offer the space required for a certain task, whether that’s coming up with ideas, catching up with colleagues, meeting a client or carrying out a personal development review. None of these need necessarily be carried out in a home or in an office environment.

Flexibility and Capacity

Instead, the third workplace can be chosen to offer the best location for a task and those involved in it. It could be chosen to reduce commuting times for the team. It may involve food, music or somewhere with an inspiring view or hi-tech meeting technology. The third workplace can take place in a formal office environment or dress down leisure venue. In short, it can be whatever it needs to be, providing true flexibility and extra capacity for employers trying to manage workspaces. For employees it offers certainty about where they’re going, who they’re meeting and when, and knowing that they can choose the right place for the right outcomes.

What’s wrong with just two places?

Why do we need a third place when we have a choice of work or home? The fact is there are challenges to both of these more traditional locations.

  • The first workplace: this is your home and could be full of distractions. A blaring television, kids not at school and possibly bored, pets that want petting, a sink full of dirty dishes or even a fridge that demands that you make a sandwich as soon as possible. Yes, our homes can be a great place to focus on a task but on some days they are the worst places to be in order to get deep work completed.
  • The second workplace: this is the traditional office that can be equally full of distractions. Colleagues can be inspiring and entertaining but they can also be overly chatty when you’re trying to concentrate. Traditional open plan offices can be noisy places and chatter or kitchen clanking can grate on the brain. With everyone in the same room it’s easier to pull people into meetings that they really didn’t need to attend. And what happens if you run out of meeting rooms when you really need a meeting?

Workplace difficulties

Both the first and second workplace have a major role to play in a flexible business. But the third workplace offers an answer to the difficulties they sometimes pose.

The birth of the third workplace

The third workplace was conceived as an alternative and an antidote to the challenges of home and office. Done properly it can provide the best of both worlds. A venue that offers those involved a change of scenery, maybe the inspiration of good coffee, the quiet of a library or the facilities they need to make meetings ultra-productive.

Capacity is improved by this approach. There’s no need to spend a lot of money on creating a specific room for specific purposes in your office when you can simply hire a suitable venue for the day. Colleagues who live close to each other can meet up somewhere nearby rather than traveling to a central venue further away. Potential recruits can be replaced and impressed by interviewing them in a place that brings out the best from them. You can make sure your training days deliver the maximum results through a bespoke space rather than a quickly converted meeting room.

How to choose your ideal third workplace

Third workplace

Finding the perfect third workplace to suit your work and goals depends entirely on the work you’re doing, and how you do your work best. Do you prefer a little background noise? If so then you might like to set up shop in a coffee shop. Maybe you like a setting that emulates your office/home office? In that case, somewhere with a hot desk may be more suitable. There are many different places to work, so find the one that suits you.

None of this is to say that the other two workplaces – home and office – are no longer relevant or necessary. Instead, it’s an extra option that delivers a purer form of flexibility, control and certainty for your employees. If you haven’t found your third workplace yet then it may be time to seek it out.

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