Third place workplaces are becoming a widely used form of workspace for entrepreneurs in the Capital. Keen to minimise overheads and premises commitments, small business owners are beginning to shy away from stifling long term rental contracts and towards more flexible, creative alternatives.
The essence of a “third place” space is something located away from the office or home where a person can work independently. This could, in practise, be a coffee shop, library or hotel conference facility.
Creative commercialisation of this concept, however, now allows business owners to share, swap or reserve workspace space from specialist providers like our own fast-growing co-working business community, Club Workspace. Business owners pay a monthly membership fee which provides access to one or all of our five locations across the capital – and this number is only set to increase in the coming months.
Work space packages vary to suit the requirements of the business owner but typically provide access to a desk, conference room facilities, chill-out areas, coffee shop and hi- speed internet access; everything you could need to get your work done.
The third place work space is the perfect solution for the entrepreneur, revered as an open-minded self-starter, yearning for independence and a sense of creative freedom. Without a permanent premise constraining their decision making, he or she is better able to manage risk and businesses growth.
With third place work spaces, entrepreneurs pay only for the space they need at any given time, allowing overheads to be minimised and efficiencies to be gained. The opportunity to increase or reduce work space quickly allows entrepreneurs to align their business and special requirements easily; a desirable outcome for any growing business.
Third place work spaces are a particularly popular concept in London because they are seen as a natural extension of developments in modern city culture. London’s café culture, together with trends in social networking and environmental accountability, has changed the way we think about work. Third place promotes the idea that employees from all backgrounds can work alongside each other, collaborating ideas and sharing knowledge as part of a new community.
Networking at work provides entrepreneurs with an additional opportunity to build new working relationships; this is perfect for young companies hoping to find new customers and business partners. A coffee with a fellow third workspace “colleague” could soon develop into a mutually beneficial business relationship or lead.
As technological developments allow us to work more portably and remotely, the boundaries of what is considered “the office” will change further. Employees will be able to have meetings via visual conferencing facilities, reducing the requirement for face-to-face contact and physical proximity.
Cloud technology now provides employees with server-like access via their mobile phone, so the argument that you “have to be at your desk all day” is no longer viable – after all, why pay for an employee’s desk space when they are only there 60% of the time? Third place offices allow entrepreneurs and their employees to choose and control where they work, allowing them to cut back on long commuting times and reduce their carbon footprint. Providers often have flexible childcare onsite, allowing parents to continue working after pregnancy.
As social norms change employers are more likely to offer staff the opportunity to change their place of work frequently, combining working from home with other more convenient, less formal settings. Entrepreneurs, as the new business owners of tomorrow, will aid this process through their championing of third place office spaces and more flexible ways of working.
About the Author: This article was written by Phil Hodgkinson, Manager at Club Workspace.