“Third Space” - Our offices in the future

Topic:
Remote work
“Third Space” - Our offices in the futureIvana Georgievska
June 29, 2022
Blog
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Is "Third Space" our offices in the future?


Companies are struggling to get their employees to return to the office (ROT).  

Employees are willing to quit their jobs in order to work from home

There’s a gap! Did we reach a compromise and find a solution? - We might just have.


In this article, we cover:

By opening any social media page, on any of the platforms, you will find tons of posts that promote remote work, complaints about being required to get back to the office or gushing about flexible work hours. 

“Remote” and “Hybrid” work are buzz words nowadays. As a matter of fact, they’ve been present during and since the pandemic. 

However, shortly before this year’s ‘Future of Everything’ conference hosted by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), we’ve introduced a new buzzword - the “Third Space”

Let’s talk about it and found out if that’s the “new” solution.


What is a Third Space?

Companies want their employees to gather together and work under one roof.

Their case for returning to the office is teamwork, camaraderie, collaboration, and pushing each other forward. 

There’s some truth in it. Organizations might benefit from interactions to generate creativity and innovation. Employees have said how much they miss those things as well. 

Employees want productivity. This means an end to wasteful meetings that keep them from leaving the office on time and spending more time with family and friends. 

Remote work can provide a sanctuary from wasteful practices. It can help employees stay focused. 

So, what if organizations create Third Spaces that accomplish both? They bring people together (what companies want) and provide the focus to get stuff done (which is what employees want). 

Maybe initially Third Spaces could be designated for work teams and, based on the results, expanded to other groups. There is a huge potential in this market where employees are looking forward to spending time in a Third Space.

The concept of Third Space

The concept of the third space has been used as a sociocultural term to designate communal space, as distinct from the home (first space) or work (second space). 

When we unite or collapse these two distinctions of space, we discover a third space, inhabited collectively by remote participants who are geographically dispersed, but nonetheless, still engaged in the social dynamic of networked interaction.

The third space has been defined as a nightclub or sports arena or museum where the individual can experience a transformative sense of self, identity and relation to others.

Imagine an Airbnb designed to accommodate work and wellness at the same time and place. 

The third space involves the fusion of local and remote participants simultaneously or asynchronously. 

It is a transformative social place that allows team-building dynamics and developing a culture of networked space. 

It is designed to blur real and remote spatial dimensions through the collapse of boundaries. Participants feel engaged through the ability to defy distance and connect no matter where. 

The concept of the third space extends the pure models (remote and office first) into the online medium by suggesting a hybrid space. 

This allows remote participants to transcend the limitations of spatial, geographic, and cultural differences as they engage with one another across vast distances.

The Third Space opens the door to the heightened, extra-sensory qualities of a group experience:

  • altering our sense of identity 
  • reducing inhibition 
  • igniting self-expression
  • deepening communication

On the other hand, the third space experience simultaneously allows participants to have alone time to think and focus on their projects, gather inspiration from the surroundings, draw ideas from the group conversations and work on their tasks. 

They are not confined to their home or office environment. They are not distracted by any regular, day-to-day activities. People have freedom to work from individual desire and rhythm

Here lies the rationale for the Third Space Network: it is a place of motivation through forms of creativity, social interaction, and artistic expression that have erupted in the age of the network.

What does a Third Space venue look like?

Having a third option to do some work isn’t a new concept. We’ve been hearing about it for years with the “workacions” (work vacation) and the remote work offices for digital nomads. 

But there’s a big difference between providing a venue for 50 people that serves lunch, coffee, and relaxing music where you can sit on a table or a sofa to do work and a Third Space venue. 

Lately, companies have been trying to replicate this “coffee-shop experience” where people can meet, talk and get together in a corporate venue for work and retreat. 

This means having the capacity to accommodate hundreds of people and put them in an environment that’s completely different from their home or regular office but is still equipped with the technology and comforts to do work without carrying your tech gadgets with you. 

Third Space venues are more of a hotel with large relaxing communal spaces situated in rural (mountain) or beach surroundings. 

Each room is equipped with big monitors to hook up your computer to, high-res cameras, quality microphones, and lighting for your business calls with the best Wi-Fi speed you can get. 

The meals are overseen by professional chefs and the kitchen is open if somebody wants to cook. 

It is a blend between work, leisure, sports activities, education, and wellness. 

These are some of the features of Third Space venues:

  • Accommodation for all employees
  • Having space for individual focus time and work 
  • Professional office comforts and equipment
  • Expensive air filtration systems
  • Gourmet meals
  • Group social activities to choose from
  • Learning and development courses
  • Skill and team-building activities
  • Sporting activities like hiking, swimming, etc.
  • Leisure activities like DJs, dancing, and having fun 
  • Practicing wellness activities like meditation and doing yoga

The Third Space venues aren’t necessarily located in secluded areas. 

Some of them are being built in the suburbs of big cities. Companies that invest in these projects are also aware of their employees’ home proximity and look to provide venues nearby. 

The purpose of the third-space experience is to be able to remove yourself from your home and office distractions and enjoy doing your work in the most comfortable and productivity-inducing environment that will reduce stress

Are there any Third Space venues you can go to now?

There are many companies that are trying to fill the third space. 

Big businesses see the opportunity to make money and offer services that are in high demand. 

Organizations with hundreds or even thousands of employees suffered due to the pandemic. 

Even though it was a bitter pill to swallow, they now understand that the future of work is disrupted and started thinking about how to capitalize on the fact that their employees are not eager to get back to the office full time. 

Here is a list of some of the forward-thinking companies that invest in third-space venues for their teams and for rent.

Wander Properties

Branches

Salesforce

Surf Office

There are more Third Space locations you can choose from, one of them currently being built on the Las Vegas Strip! 

These employee retreat workspaces can become important corporate destinations and business networking hubs. 

They can change the tourist demographics and create a different business culture worldwide. 

Remote work hasn’t only changed the way we think about work and how we approach it, but it is progressing the way we feel about it by crushing all existing boundaries and geography.

With the development of Meta and its virtual offices and meeting locations, we’re starting to develop a very liberal approach to work where literally, the world is in our palm. 

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