As the world gets to grips with a post-pandemic way of working, not everyone is in a rush to get back to the office, but not everyone wants to continue to work from home, which is also often their sanctuary too.
A ‘third workplace’ concept seems to be the current trend, although it won’t be anything new to those who are accustomed to remote working and therefore won’t be surprised to hear that more and more people are choosing to work in cafes, restaurants or hotel lobbies.
However, these ‘third workplaces’ are a brilliant idea of flexible working for businesses that are having to diversify due to the pandemic.
In this article I read recently, a restaurant in New York, which doesn’t usually serve food until after 5pm, has turned into a co-working space during the day. Not only does it open itself up to a different type of clientele, but it’s also another way of generating revenue in what has been a really tough year.
As business owners, our environment influences our performance. The office doesn’t always lend itself to thinking space, while being boxed into the spare room at home with minimal space to move isn’t always conducive to our best work either.
Having a third place to escape to certainly comes with many benefits.
Private members clubs such as Soho House and Babington House, and co-working spaces, such as WeWork and Regus have been providing spaces for people to work from for years, as an alternative to being in the office.
Obviously during lockdown we no longer had access to these spaces, so we really were stuck at home.
But now? Now our needs have changed yet again. A space to work isn’t just about having access to wifi and tea and coffee, now we’re thinking more about the environment in which we’re in.
A busy cafe, a hotel lobby or even a library aren’t the best solution for taking work calls. Equally, not having access to a bright open space can stunt creative thinking.
Our mental health and having thinking space is now more of a priority when choosing where we work from.
But an age-old problem still exists, and isn’t going to go away any time soon. That problem? Feeling isolated and disconnected from the rest of your team. How do you recreate an office environment when the team is dispersed all over the country, the country, or even the world?
Yes, being around others will help you feel less alone, but you’re still not physically or emotionally connecting with your colleagues. And while you can use video conferencing tools such as Zoom or Skype, taking work calls in a public space isn’t always a viable option.
This is why Wurkr works.
And is the exact reason why Annil and I are so passionate about it, because it bridges the gap, it brings a remote, dispersed workforce together so that they can truly work together, they can still feel connected and feel part of a team .
Pre-lockdown, many remote workers do flexible working and missed human connection, but it came with the remote-working territory. As if choosing to work remotely means that you’re choosing to cut off the human connection element.
But since the world has had to work remotely, the human connection element is now more of a necessity, rather than a nice-to-have.
And it makes sense, because you can’t really understand something unless you’ve experienced it personally.
During the pandemic most office-based businesses have had to rely on remote working, with everyone being in the same boat. Now that the world is re-opening, it’s up to us to create a way of working that promotes a positive experience for everyone.
A solution that keeps us connected and engaged and interacting with each other, whether we’re working at opposite desks or on the other side of the world.
So while I think these ‘third workplaces’ offer a different option in terms of your working environment, the need to stay connected and the need for human interaction is a basic need that still needs to be met.