Boost Employee Productivity by Offering a “Third Place” in Your Office
The typical office is changing. Employees aren’t satisfied with a standard office with four walls, cubicles, a water cooler and a microwave anymore, and for good reason: they completely extinguish creativity and productivity. If you are a conscious leader and care about your employee’s well-being, this post is aimed directly at you. There is always something you can do to improve morale and productivity in your office, and this one we call: “The Third Place”.
THE FIRST PLACE
Before we get into what this mysterious place is, there are a few things to discuss. The “first place” is simply your office, and your employee’s place within it. For most people, the first place is the only place at which they work. There is a shift occurring that allows a lot of people to also take their work home, or split their time between the two — this home office (or couch, for some), is what is known as the “second place”.
THE SECOND PLACE
The second place works for some people, but not for others. Those who are easily distracted struggle with working at home, and if they were to make the shift towards working entirely remotely, would fail miserably. Others find that they can concentrate better in their own space, where there is no expectation to dress a certain way, talk to co-workers, or even brush their hair in the morning.
THE MYSTERIOUS “THIRD” PLACE
Then, there are the people who recognize that they are easily distracted by their environment, which this “third place” is either a blessing or a curse for. The third place is somewhere that is neither home nor office: maybe a restaurant or a coffee shop. It’s a relaxed and comfortable place where people go to hold themselves accountable to their work. It’s a place that sparks creativity, and where the employee can decide which distractions they allow in, and which they deflect.
The third place is not just for the aspiring writer or self-employed anymore. It’s a place where someone can go if they are feeling uninspired or trapped in their normal workspace. Obviously, this type of situation doesn’t work for every type of employee or company, which is why we suggest that you bring the third place to your office.
WHAT IF YOU DON’T (THINK YOU) HAVE ROOM FOR ONE?
Most offices have a lot of wasted space — some more than others. Some people are converting old filing rooms (post-digitization) into third spaces. Others are opting to renovate their bathrooms into single, unisex stalls, which opens up a considerable sized space. Maybe you have an underused office kitchen or break room? Change it into a third place where your employees can go to change up their surroundings and get their brains working fully again.
It doesn’t have to be elaborate, and can even be a work in progress. What it does need is:
- Accessibility to electrical outlets for laptop and phone charging
- Wifi connectivity
- A coffee machine, and potentially some snacks
- Comfortable chairs and cafe style tables
- Some sort of comfortable music or background noise, if possible. There are plenty of playlists on Spotify and Apple Music that do the trick for this.
OTHER USES FOR THE THIRD PLACE
The third place is also a great space for employees without a permanent desk, such as remote workers who aren’t always in the office, employees from another branch or province, or regional employees who are in town for meetings. If the conference room is booked or you just need a small, last minute meeting place, the third place also works.
It removes the constraints of the traditional office for those people who have trouble keeping focused in such, and offers their mind a place to expand. As the world moves into an age where we can essentially work from anywhere, adding a third place is a forward step for almost any company. Don’t know if it will work for you? Just ask. Your employees will appreciate that you are interested in their opinions and that you want to improve their lives at work.