the future of workplace

The Future of Workplace: Between the Second and Third Place

Vibrant communities, cafe-inspired workspaces and premium shower facilities? Your future workplace is set to resemble a vertical lifestyle village.

Defining the first, second and third place

First place: Home, with all the inherent pressures of home.

Second place: Work, the place we spend the majority of our waking hours, with the pressure of employment.

Third place: The place where people can gather, put aside the concerns of work and home and ‘hang out’ simply for the pleasure of good company and lively conversations.

In 1989, urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg coined the concept of ‘third place’ in The Great Good Place, his book about the importance of informal public gathering places. Oldenburg demonstrates how and why these places are essential to community and society. He argues that bars, coffee shops, general stores, and other “third places” are central to local democracy and community vitality. Today, the idea of third place has firmly taken root as a sought after ideal, and in of all places, the second place itself. In a bid to attract the best and brightest workers, employers are looking for ways to make workplaces feel more like community spaces.

the future of workplace

Forget the traditional office. Third place is the future of workplace.

Like all things that are fundamentally flawed, the workplace has been ripe for disruption for decades.

Gone are the days of the partitioned, drab and stagnant office like something from a scene out of 1999 film The Matrix.

Co-working space, flexible meeting and event spaces and greater office amenity are here to stay. In fact, workplaces are reshaping into dynamic hubs that support diverse working styles. Today’s leading-edge office designs borrow heavily from both community destinations and the home. Traditional desk space is complemented by everything form living walls to informal meeting areas, digital lounges and meditation rooms.

What’s driving the building activation trend?

A large factor behind the shift can be attributed to the rising number of millennials in the workforce. With different values compared to previous generations, they expect innovative design that reflects the way employees work today.

Workplaces are officially transforming. Offices are being upgraded with lobby cafes and premium end-of-trip facilities, on a scale previously unseen. And with millennials set to make up the greatest proportion of the workforce in the next three years, we can only expect the activation movement to intensify.

Another reason for the shift is a fundamental change in the way commercial building owners see tenants. In advanced economies, landlords increasingly view tenants’ employees as their own clients, resulting in them acknowledging these clients’ needs through building activation. It is isn’t difficult to see why. If a tenant’s employees are happy, the tenant is happy, and is more likely to invest for the long term.

Third place is already here, and it’s closer than you think

Some adept building owners are taking their entire buildings on the ‘third place’ journey. Brookfield, one of the largest global property owners, strives to “create highly activated live, work and play environments” in their buildings, according to head of corporate development Kevin Danehy. Beyond end-of-trip facilities and cafés, their activations include technology and wide-ranging amenities. Meanwhile in Australia, Dexus Properties have opened meeting hub Dexus Place in many of their buildings, providing a third place experience for portfolio tenants.  At Cliftons, Workplace offers clients contemporary and flexible suites, with vibrant space, community, dining and events in a single solution. These are in addition to Cliftons’ flexible meeting and event spaces.

So in the future, you can expect your building to evolve into a vertical village offering many of the comforts of home and lifestyle. A place to collaborate, socialise and breathe – rather than simply work.

Want to find out more about what the future of workplace holds?

Get our ebook The Future of Workplace.