According to a white paper published by ZZA, which is a London-based consultancy that specialises in optimising user environments, more and more people have started working from “third places”.
A third place isn’t home and it isn’t the office. It’s a third venue that combines advantages of both – somewhere you don’t have to travel far or sit in heavy traffic to reach, but that’s physically separate from the distractions of home.
The most common examples of third places are business centres and coworking spaces, coffee shops and public libraries.
Surprising figures indicate real change in work practices
In 2011, roughly 17,800 business owners and senior managers in more than 60 countries completed a survey about their work practices.
Nearly half of all those who responded reported using “third places”, between their homes and corporate offices, to do some or even all of their work.
What’s more, most of these people don’t work at a third place just now and again. Almost two-thirds reported that their third place is where they do the majority of their work, and that they work there for an average of four to five days a week.
Why? What are the benefits?
The key benefits of working in a third place, such as a coworking space, are:
- cutting down the time and money spent commuting into city centres
- greater flexibility in both work hours and locations
- a healthy separation between work and home/family life
- access to a professional, business-like environment where it’s appropriate to meet clients and colleagues
- access to business infrastructure (like high-speed internet) and security, without having to invest in or maintain this infrastructure yourself
- the opportunity to network and socialise with other people
- greater productivity, with fewer distractions than home or a busy office.
Consider a few of the comments that respondents made when interviewed:
“I’m more productive working here. You feed off each other, it’s good for productivity.” (Business centre in Hertfordshire, Watford)
“I’ve got the internet and a docking station at home, and there’s no disturbance from family members – I’ve got the space there. But part of me misses an office atmosphere, so I come here Monday to Friday…” (Business centre in Mumbai)
“On the weekdays I come here so I can achieve a lot and have a break at the weekend. Here is where I work and home is for rest.” (Library in London, Kings Cross)
“Everyday, I work either here or a different business centre in this network, depending on where I’m meeting people.” (Business centre in London, London Bridge)
“…If I worked from home, I’d probably sit in my pyjamas with the TV on in the background; it wouldn’t be good.” (Business centre – Essex, Chelmsford)
Who’s working in third places?
Third place working is especially popular with entrepreneurs and those in start-up businesses; individuals who work solo, like freelance and contract workers; and people working for companies on a “predominantly agile” basis, regardless of whether these companies have fixed office space. They’re also popular with students.
What The Workspace offers
With The Workspace coworking spaces, South Africans can enjoy all the benefits of working in professional but comfortable “third place” environments on a flexible basis.