Third Place for the WIN!

Written by Lisa Huffman

18th Jan 2023

Have you heard of the term "third place" as it relates to coworking? I hadn’t either. And then I read “What Is a ‘Third Place’ and Why Do Your Employees Need One?” by Preferred Office Network (PON). To my surprise, “third place” is not a new term in the coworking industry. It was coined over 30 years ago by urban sociologist, Ray Oldenburg, in his book The Great Good Place.

According to PON, “In contrast to first places (home) and second places (the office), third places are designed specifically for unfettered human interaction." Oldenburg describes third places as spaces that "host the regular, voluntary, informal, and happily anticipated gatherings of individuals beyond the realms of home and work." His theory might have been the catalyst for the earliest examples of coworking spaces. Are you with me in thinking that’s pretty cool?

As a coworking provider, we see that “unfettered human interaction” daily. Workspace members appreciate having the opportunity to gather with other like-minded professionals – whether they’re chatting about current events, inquiring about each other's business ventures, cracking jokes, or offering advice on anything under the sun. They benefit from (and oftentimes are inspired by) the camaraderie the Workspace community provides and are better able to be productive while remaining close to (but not) home. As a result, they’ve achieved the increasingly desirable life/work balance (as opposed to the pre-pandemic standard of a work/life balance) that allows them to focus on and be present for the things that matter most.

As we move into year four of the pandemic, coworking providers around the globe continue to see an increase in the demand for flexible office space. This growth has been spurred by two key factors: a significant increase in self-employment and employees' desire to maintain a hybrid work schedule indefinitely. People who have been working from home are tired of being isolated and want out…at least for a few days a they can have the human interaction that has been missing. A flexible office or coworking space close to home is the perfect solution for that “third place.”  

Leading coworking experts and PON agree. “The shift away from working at home is on the rise. According to a survey by JLL, working in one single location – be that the home, office, or a third place – was reported to be the least appealing option for employees. A week that is split between office, home, and a third place is likely to become the most popular pattern as workers re-attune themselves to leaving the house and re-entering the workplace."

You can read the entire PON article here and you can find your perfect “Third Place” here.