Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Third Place to Work

Third Place to Work

Charlie Grantham and Jim Ware write extensively about the “third place” for work in the latest edition of Future of work Agenda.

In the work design collaborative research program their was a demand for a "THE THIRD PLACE TO WORK" from the Knowledge workers.

“In fact, we wouldn't be surprised if that many people are already working one or more days a week in third places right now. Just think about your own work patterns; how often do you "log on" from a coffee shop, an airport hot spot, a hotel lobby, or some other location well removed from both your corporate office and your home office?

"Third place" is a term first used by author Ray Oldenburg way back in 1989 (The Great Good Place (Paragon House Publishers, 1989). By that he meant places that are not living areas and not "offices" per se. Third Places are typically smaller facilities (10,000 to 14,000 square feet) where people gather for a variety of reasons and to do a variety of different things. "A Starbucks on steroids" is a good image.

Third Places are clearly an adjunct to traditional "corporate" offices and home offices. Our research shows that workers of the future will most likely be spending approximately 40% of their time in corporate facilities, 30% in a home office, and the remainder in a "third place" (actually, that will most likely be a variety of third places over the course of a week or a month).

They believe that organization of the future will have these common working patterns.

*Organizations want to move away from a fixed-cost structure to variable cost models in order to reduce capital requirements and risk, while increasing their agility and responsiveness to changing environments;

*Remote and mobile workers do not have adequate alternative meeting places, office services, or technical support that are either affordable or convenient to their residential locations;

*Home-based independent workers also need and want more support and services because their home-based workspaces are limited and they generally have almost no useful meeting space. And like mobile workers they
also have a need for office services and technical support.

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