When given the choice, people are drawn to the places that make them feel the best and most productive. Why do people value being in the workplace? To collaborate, create, and innovate. To connect socially. To leverage the teams, networks, and processes that help them perform their best. To be inspired. Its purpose has shifted from where we had to work to a place that’s more dynamic and experiential than ever.
Work is likely to be done in more than one location. When we think about what the future of work looks like, it is at the center of an integrated ecosystem that balances work among three primary physical locations: office, home, and third places.
What we previously knew as the office was already evolving into a place of social context—more collaborative than ever. It’s the epicenter for where organizational culture is embedded and cultivated. As the office continues to adapt for the future, it will become the hub for group work and interaction, as well as a place for individuals to prepare for meetings and process thinking afterward.
By now, we’re well acquainted with our home workplace after being sequestered in our homes for months and working remotely during the pandemic. The home office will continue to evolve to support activities like focus work, reading, scheduled calls, and virtual meetings. Home also plays a role in the work/life balance equation when flexible schedules are supported by employers.
The spaces in between office and home—or third places—will become more important as people are looking for additional places to work away from distractions like coworkers, partners, kids, and pets. Third places add new dimension to our work and allow for temporary focus work or touchdown activities in a different setting from the office or home.