People spend most of their lives in two places: home and the office. But for socialization, engagement, and entertainment, we seek out a third place where we’re stimulated by those we’re with, the surroundings, and the amenities available. These can be favorite restaurants or bars, coffee shops and cafés, or even parks and outdoor hubs of activity.
It’s no surprise, then, that for workers not tethered to an office, they’ve sought out these third places–particularly if there’s free wifi–to be inspired and regularly connect with people.
With an average workweek coming in at 47 hours, these external places that help focus and recharge us have become a vital part of the employee economy.
The Attraction of the Third Place
But what’s the attraction of the third place? What does it bring to a worker that the home or office does not provide?
They’re neutral. We have responsibilities at home and at work. While we’re there, we have a to-do list, whether that entails caring for our families and homes or sending out emails and participating in meetings. The third place brings with it no expectations or ties to personal obligations, which effectively knocks down the barriers to free thinking.
Thus unfettered, employees find more inspiration in third places, and ask more “what-if” type questions for effective problem-solving.
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