Third-place working environments for corporates

‘A great good place’ may not be the first thought that jumps into your head when you think about your working environment but it soon could be, as the concept of ‘Third-Place’ working venues gains traction globally.

Urban sociologist, Ray Oldenburg, first coined the phrase in his book, ‘The Great Good Place’, describing the ‘Third Place’ as a welcoming space where individuals foster social interactions with like-minded people, away from home and the traditional office setting.

According to Oz Desai, GM Corporate Traveller South Africa, in recent years the idea of a ‘Third-Place’ working environment has become much more prominent. This is especially true for corporate travellers who more often than not require a suitable place to stay in touch with the office and stay up to date with in-office tasks.

Desai adds that that aside from a productivity point of view, on a personal level a third place contributes a lot to with finding a better work/life balance and combating business travel stress.

“Corporate Traveller staff are given various flexibility options and we have seen the benefits first-hand. Not only does it aid in productivity, but we have also observed that there is greater longevity when it comes to our staff members,”  says Desai.

The Staples 2016 Workplace Index highlighted factors such as longer working hours, stress and feelings of being tied to a desk, that are all leading the way in the establishment of the ‘Third-Place’ working environments. The Index also showed that workers wanted to forego dull office spaces in favour of workspaces that provided more of a change of pace.

If you’re sitting in a coffee shop working on your emails right now, you’ll probably be nodding your head in agreement. So, Corporate Traveller went out on the town to find some of South Africa’s best ‘Third-Place’ working environments for you to sample:

  • Coffee, an email and some fun

Coffee shops can almost certainly claim the fame of the original originators of the ‘Third Place’.

However, nowadays it is no longer the noisy, hard to concentrate environments, rather now, coffee shops are making modern-day road warriors a priority, creating spaces that offer all the comforts of home and office.  But what is it that has made the coffee shops so successful?

For ‘Third Place’ to work, it must have touchpoints or hooks that speaks to an audience. From colour schemes and the design and smell of a place, to incorporating elements that allow the users to express themselves in public, such as books, board games and, of course, a means by which people can still actively be present in their daily work responsibilities.

While South Africa may only just be getting used to having these spaces around on every corner, comfy chairs, the aroma of good coffee and WiFi make for a good day at the office, right?

  • Work, meet and innovate

If a home-away-from-home work setting where you can share ideas and communicate with other ‘Third Placers’, albeit temporary, ticks all your boxes, OPEN is just the place for you.

With alternative working spaces available in Cape Town (Cape Town’s Waterfront), Maboneng Precinct and more recently Sandton (Nelson Mandela Square), all your business needs can be met.   

OPEN’s spaces offer fast Internet, great coffee and a choice of hot desks (for the flexible worker), dedicated desks (your own desk), offices for 2-50 people, with shared facilities and meeting rooms.

Need to host an event? OPEN has you covered for that too. OPEN’s event venues range from formal to fun and creative, plus you can adapt the space to your needs.

For more information visit OPEN

  • It says so in the name

Looking for a modern workspace that is connected and flexible, try one of the Workspace’s many locations countrywide.

If you often require a ‘Third-Place’ working environment equipped with all the bells and whistles, you’ll simply love the pay-as-you-go arrangement that can be renewed each month instead of signing a long-term lease.

The workspace offers co-working at all of its branches as a flexible, cost-effective alternative to traditional office space. This includes state-of-the-art business facilities and services, and comfortable spaces for working and for interacting with others.

For more information visit The Work Space

  • A home, but not…

On Roodebloem Road in Cape Town’s trendy Woodstock neighbourhood, you will find the Inspiration Playground, a shared office space in what can only be described as a magical three-bedroom house.

There is space for 14 people to work alongside each other with office support tools including a 4MB high speed ADSL line. Shared spaces include plenty of cupboard and storage space, an informal meeting area, a fully functional bathroom with bath and shower, an outdoor space with a swing and plenty of chairs to sit back and catch some fresh air.

There is also a fully functional and equipped kitchen with fridge, microwave, kettle, tea and coffee. However, if you do feel like stepping out for a short break, Roodebloem Road itself has seen many thriving businesses open up offering a variety of coffee shops and delis.

As an added unique touch, Inspiration Playground is pet friendly and you can even take your furry friend to the “office”.

What are the top elements in creating a ‘Third-Place’ working space?

  1. Think fun and creative: If you want to people to think outside-of-the-box, you need to motivate them with a creative and fun work environment – a tranquil settings, games area, or even a great mural.
  2. Space: Open spaces offer various communicative options within homely and comfortably-furnished zones. Think team zones, think tanks, lounges and the ubiquitous coffee bars, as well as higher-density workstations.
  3. Flexible: Allowing staff to take control of their work schedule and where they work has become increasingly popular. Flexible working is a valuable benefit encouraging workers to use all spaces, places and technology available to them.
  4. Technology: From iPhones, to iWatches, technology has made it possible to work from virtual offices and communicate with businesses as well as individuals across the globe.