The rise of the Third Workspace

Published: 5th May 2022

I'll avoid going too far back in time and begin this story at the office. The office has continued to serve its purpose since the 16th century but in recent times as computers have become more portable, those working solely from a computer have begun working from all sorts of places such as coffee shops and even home, and in 2020 anyone who could work home, had too.

Not everyone's home was great for work, but since 2020 more people have seen the benefits of working away from the office either permanently or a few days per week - dubbed "hybrid working" - saying that it can help their work/life balance or improve productivity.

There has been plenty of research to back up those claims too, with some companies like Airbnb announcing that almost all staff will be allowed to work wherever they want, forever.

With the desire to get out of the office increasing, but home working still not the ideal environment for most, more people have started to seek out alternative workspaces. Third workspaces.

The History of Third Workspaces

When Starbucks opened up shop in 1971 and became a place for people to not just hang out but also work, it was one of the first-ever third workspaces and boasted amenities that some offices could only dream of, half-decent coffee.

Many businesses have sprung up to serve the growing demand, but also for the growing variety of people who use the third workspaces for different purposes.

Some want to get away from the distraction of working at home and need a space that allows them to focus on work uninterrupted, while others are looking for a place where they can easily connect with other like-minded people.

How do Third Workspaces work?

There are spaces where you pay a membership fee and have access to a full day of office amenities, and others that have a more pay-per-use model, like renting a desk or workspace by the hour when you need it. But, there are also services like Hubble and Reef which you pay a membership for and get access to dozens of spaces all over the world.

How do they compare to co-working spaces?

Co-working spaces like WeWork are designed for longer-term use by both freelancers and companies and don't usually sell hour passes. Co-working spaces are more like a shared office block, whereas third workspaces can also be shared with the public or non-working customers.

Are Third Workspaces the next big thing?

Third workspaces aren’t just the next big thing – they’re already here.


Gregor Sey

Gregor helps companies engage with their teams with virtual experiences via

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