Coffee houses have a long and storied history. The zenith of which might just be a new fad sweeping the world of remote and hybrid work – third workplaces.
Although this won’t come as a surprise to seasoned remote workers, the recent mass exodus from the office and into places of work remotely has caused a new fad to emerge. It’s called “third workplaces”, and it’s important for employers and IT to know about it.
What is a Third Workplace?
You have your office. You have your home. And you have your third workplace. That third workplace can really be anything, but tends to be a coffee shop, co working space or a hotel! Some companies are even known to go on travel/work vacations to famous locales like Paris.
With More Flexibility, Workers are Bound to Explore Third Workplaces
The evolution to third workplaces is a gradual process. What tends to happen is that an office bound employee suddenly discovers the wonders of remote work. Being able to ditch the morning commute, and get a few extra hours in the day are a huge boon to employee satisfaction. Workers who first are exposed to remote work tend to think of it at first as being tied to their home office. They might setup a desk, or devote a room or corner solely to remote working.
However, over time, once the employee gets used to the flexibility afforded by remote work, he or she begins looking elsewhere to get his or her work done. Suddenly that trip to the local coffee shop becomes more than just a morning habit – it becomes a great place to get a few work tasks done before the meetings of the day get started.
Before you know it, the remote worker is taking braver, bolder steps –venturing out to hotels and rentals around the country and working by day and exploring by night.
For many, this sort of flexibility is worth its weight in gold. In fact, many employees would rather quit their job than give it up.
Third Workplaces Aren’t Just About Leisure
Although certainly a component of the trend, third workplaces aren’t just about leisure. They’re also about productivity. The office. The home. These are some of the most distracting places in our lives. But a neutral coffee shop or a co-working space is whatever you want it to be.
We all saw those stressed, panicked coworkers of ours taking video calls from their cars or in the garage simply to get away from their screaming kids. Surely, a third workplace has its place in our lives. It could very well be the the kind of work sanctuary employees need in order to get their work done.
As Third Workplaces Become a Thing, Companies Prepare for the Future of Hybrid Work
Do you even remember hearing the term “hybrid work” a few years ago? It tended to either be remote work, or office work. Sure, plenty of jobs offered telecommuting days as a sort of perk or you could do it under the radar when needed, but as an actual business strategy, hybrid work is about as new as it gets.
But it’s not just a trendy new term you should be familiar with. It is a paramount shift registering on a similar seismic scale to that of 2020s overnight switch to remote work. Just to give you an idea of how big this is – 65% of companies (startups and big name employers) want a hybrid work model moving forward.
It is critical that enterprise consider the impact that this trend to hybrid work will play in enabling their workers moving forwards.
What are the Benefits of Hybrid Work?
With 73% of employers eager to retain remote work options post pandemic, it’s clear that remote work to some extent is here to stay. And yet as a strong middle ground approach, many are opting out of a full time remote work model and choosing a hybrid one instead. Regardless of how employees may feel about giving up full time remote work, there are some promising signs that hybrid work could be a positive solution for both employers and employees.
Ultimately, hybrid work offers many of the benefits of remote work and actually adds a few more to them. Employee satisfaction increases when employees have flexibility to work in places of their choosing. On the employer side, businesses actually save costs when leveraging hybrid work models. Employee turnover is less high, and office expenses are lessened.
But there is one critical problem that hybrid work models could end up solving – isolation.
Isolation is Inherent to Remote Work – Can Hybrid Work Solve It?
Oddly enough, employee isolation is not just a problem for the employee. During the pandemic, networks shrank, while immediate interaction between direct teams grew. This means that while teams worked together perhaps even more effectively while remote, silos between departments grew.
Hybrid work could solve this problem by offering a chance for employees to “get together”. Not only does being in close proximity and discussing work in a group have productivity benefits, it also has social benefits. Getting together for an office day could actually increase your employees’ satisfaction beyond what remote work has to offer.
When done effectively, employees could begin to see their office in the same vein as their “third place” – a space for them to get their work done in a productive and encouraging environment face to face with their actual colleagues.
The Technology Problem with Hybrid Work Models and Third Workplaces
Getting IT and business leaders to buy into the idea of enabling a more flexible environment for their entire workforce is only half the battle. Or maybe only one quarter the battle. After all, there is a lot that needs to be done from a technology standpoint before the fabled benefits of remote/flexible work can be gleaned.
For starters, flexible work introduces the prominent issue of dealing with personal devices. Many companies are not yet positioned to handle this effectively. How do you provide access to confidential data to workers who will often be accessing work via personal devices from remote locations?
Many employees expect to do work on personal computers, not just work ones. To make matters worse in the hybrid work scenario , IT will have to provision workspaces both out of office, and in office. This means managing a hybrid work scenario for not only a few employees, but potentially for thousands of employees all accessing work from different devices from different places around the world. Making this possible is a lot easier said than done.
Hybrid Work and Third Workplaces Open Up Security Holes in the Organization
If what happened to the Colonial Pipeline Company didn’t already keep IT managers up at night, wondering how they are going to ensure secure hybrid work for their entire dispersed workforce certainly will.
Luckily, there are solutions to help. Stratodesk software, for example, enables your VDI/Cloud based fleet of endpoint devices to operate securely from any location and on any device. Leading enterprises rely on Stratodesk to make remote work productive and secure, and also to help with things like regulatory compliance, hybrid work models, multi factor authentication and more.
Learn how Stratodesk software is enabling the future of hybrid work by taking a look at this free trial.