What is the third space?
First thing’s first—what is the third space? The third space is a term commonly used to refer to the space between home (the first space) and the workplace (the second space). With the rise of telecommuting and office employees working from laptops, the line between work and home has become more and more blurred, and with that blurring has come a need for a more casual, comfortable place to collaborate and get work done. Common examples of third spaces include cafes, parks and other public places that foster socialization and a sense of community. In a workplace, the third space is a place somewhere between our workstations and formal conference rooms where employees can meet freely to share ideas on the fly.
How do I add a third space to my office?
A well-designed third space can accommodate a range of different functions in one location, increasing productivity and creativity by offering employees a range of different ways to work. When adding a third space to your office design, keep in mind the mobility of the space, the comfort and the aesthetics in order to make the space a functional and enjoyable place to be.
Mobility is key. The third space won’t work if your employees are chained to their desks day in and day out. If possible, give your employees the option to work with a laptop, and then give them the freedom to work with their laptop anywhere they want. Even if your company hasn’t quite gotten on board with working from home yet, allowing employees to work in other areas of the office aside from their desk will get those creative juices flowing, energize them and make them overall more productive employees.
Let them lounge. A third space should in essence feel like a home away from home, and you wouldn’t fill your home with a bunch of uncomfortable furniture, would you? Of course not. That’s exactly why we recommend equipping your office with a comfortable lounge area complete with sofas, arm chairs, coffee tables and maybe even a television. Now that your employees have the freedom to work anywhere in the office, you’ll notice more and more of them using these comfortable lounge areas to get their work done. Not only will changing up the scenery foster a greater capacity for creativity, but it will also boost morale, giving employees a new found enjoyment for their work.
Bring in a beautiful breakroom. Even if you don’t have space for a full lounge, most offices have a breakroom, and you should design it wisely. Countless studies have proven the importance of stepping away from your workstation from time to time to reenergize, and creating a beautiful breakroom will keep employees inspired during the time they’re away from their desks. It’s important to design a space that employees will actually want to spend time in. That way, you’re increasing the chance employees will utilize the space and take that extra time to relax during the day.
Quiet spaces mixed in with social areas. Although a large, open lounge area can make a great third space, it’s important to offer a little privacy for employees who need to hold private conversations or get work done in peace and quiet. At the NBF office, we’ve added an office library that is specifically designed to be used as a quiet getaway for employees who need to concentrate, whether that be on their work or during their break. Remember, the idea is to give employees options so that they may choose the way in which they want to work.
Does your office have a third space? Let us know how you incorporated this cutting-edge design trend into your workspace by commenting below!