Many businesses that need to increase productivity and employee retention are turning to creating Third Spaces. This type of environment has the potential to create a magnetic office space, increasing the attractiveness of the workplace and engagement.
Environment is a high ranking priority for many employees when deciding to join or stay within a company. A dull or uninviting environment can create low-motivation and low-energy and undermine productivity.
The term comes from the concept of a communal space, which acts as a separate environment from the home and workplace. This place can be many settings but typically allows a more transformative and expressive experience to be enjoyed concerning the self and others.
This can seem a bit fancy or unnecessary if you’re thinking of a business setting. After all, the working place is already the second space, why do we need a third communal space to be provided to employees within our offices?
The answer lies in cognitive function. The third space nurtures community and culture. It creates a sense of belonging, encourages us to come out of our shell, be more creative, and naturally fuels the fire of energy. It’s exciting to be in a third space, and you can harness this powerful effect for your business.
The third space creates a space where we can engage in social dynamics and network. This vital factor can set the stage for tapping into the hidden potential of your teams. When people have the chance to step forward, enjoy one another's company, and be heard in a more relaxed setting new ideas and dynamics can occur.
Creative working partnerships may emerge, ideas may spark, and the overall morale of the workplace can be lifted. Suddenly, work becomes a more exciting place to be that is engaging reward centers in the brain.
As our work environments move forward we can expect to see a decrease in the traditional office work setting. Telecommuting and freelancing are becoming increasingly common and realistic.
With this in mind, we can envision a future where it is more common for employees to have scheduled meeting times to work together as a team rather than set hours in the office to complete daily tasks. A necessary adjustment in the environment they are meeting must also occur as the goals for the meeting space are shifting.
Allowing for increased engagement and team building through face to face interactions is an important change we’re moving towards as the need for innate human connection will still be present. Even as we become more distant through the tools the internet offers, our need to collaborate and connect will remain.
The workplace in today's context is a sort of second home where a large portion of an employee's life will be spent. If that space is comfortable and set up to promote healthy socialization there will be a natural magnetic pull. These factors can relieve tension and stress caused by uncomfortable environments, further increasing the ability to focus and increasing productivity.
Scientifically proven ways to positively impact behavior and productivity levels can be integrated into these spaces as well. Installing landscapes, natural views and more natural lighting are all shown to have a positive effect. Getting creative with integrating fresh air, plant life, and heightening oxygen levels will be supportive of the cognitive ability of all employees in the office.
Features that encourage morning gatherings around the coffee area, adequate comfortable seating and ways for co-workers to meet and brainstorm together can be simple yet effective adjustments. Providing alternative work settings, such as standing desks and alternative working areas also allows individuals to create movement in their day that can support health and blood flow that ultimately helps us stay focused for longer.
The primary concern of the third space is to create a space that is comfortable, welcome, and that cultivates positive social interactions. The goal of these efforts is to increase networking, productivity and unlocking the potential of employees.
These third spaces are shown to play a vital role in strengthening a community by bringing people together and allowing interactions on an equal playing field. A place where everyone is welcome and socializing is expected and accepted. These are not only vital for communal interactions, but they also provide benefits cognitively by creating a sense of connectedness and belonging.
These spaces can act as retreats from stressful projects, brainstorming space away from heavy work areas, and places for new ideas to spark. The concept may seem like a luxury at first glance, but it is truly a necessity for any large organization of individuals. The need to connect, relate and build is a natural process that is triggered in these special third spaces.
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