Why Third Spaces Are the Key to Unlocking Employee Productivity and Potential

Between new channels and methods of communication, globalization, automation, and the changing value proposition of the office, the very concept of the workplace continues to evolve faster than you can say “let’s connect on this high-level action item.” A lot of this is down to evolving attitudes around how we measure productivity and success — these days it’s less about punching the clock and more about maximizing potential. So, what better place to start than where you go every day to get the job done. “The office!” you say. Well, yes, you could go all-in on optimizing your company’s office for differing workstyles, but this is expensive, both in capital and operational costs, and we think there is a better way.

Reframing the Flexible Work Debate

While more than two-thirds of workers still complete their jobs in a traditional office, there is compelling data to suggest that those days may soon be numbered, and for good reason.

According to Polycom, 98 percent of respondents said that “anywhere working” has a positive impact on productivity, whereas Clutch’s 2018 Future of Work survey revealed that 54% of employees who have multiple workspace options believe that they are more productive when they take their work offsite. This is not surprising when you consider that our brains are wired to appreciate novel stimuli, which is why stepping outside of the ordinary is so good for productivity. Forward-thinking companies like Google and Apple have long embraced this reality with campus amenities that meet employee needs holistically. But what about the rest of us?

Today, many companies have both formal and informal work-from-home policies, giving employees some autonomy over where they spend the workday. While this flexibility is welcome, it’s not a one-size-fits-all fix. Face-to-face interactions will always win out over remote collaboration, and many workers, especially those in urban areas, don’t have the luxury of a home office to keep the line between work and home from blurring. And yet, just as there’s more to being a good employee than just showing up, sometimes you can be a more productive employee by not showing up at all (to the office, that is).

So how can the non-behemoth companies of the world give their teams the most conducive working environment without massively expanding their office floor plates?

Enter Third Spaces

Your home away from home AND work, third spaces cater to different work styles and functions, and can give your company a campus-like feel without a physical expansion. This concept isn’t reinventing the wheel — as anyone who’s ever had a productive afternoon at their favorite coffee spot can testify — rather, it’s taking this concept and making it work for everyone.

A third space can have that coffee shop feel, for when you need a place to decompress between meetings, a quiet space to focus, or just a change of scene, but this is just one application. In a recent survey of 600+ companies in the US, two-thirds of respondents stated that they felt they were more productive when their conferences were conducted off-site instead of in the office. Access to a reservable, dedicated out-of-office meeting space with top amenities in a great location can be a boon for effective collaboration and impressing clients. Third spaces can be integral to wellness, too. Imagine a place where you can go that’s designed to help you focus, conduct quiet research, or even meditate uninterrupted.

Welcome to the Neighborhood

Knotel is bringing the third space concept to life with the launch of its first Neighborhood in NYC’s Flatiron District. The Neighborhood spaces, Commons, Studio, and Haven, each address an integral element of productivity that can be accessed as and when needed.

Knotel Neighborhood OneSheet (2)

The fact is that employee satisfaction, engagement, and productivity all suffer when there are limited options for settings that best suit people’s needs and preferred work styles, so with the launch of Neighborhood, we are giving companies of all sizes that holistic campus feel right where they are. Spaces that foster collaboration, face-to-face interaction, quiet solo work, and wellness are what the workforce is demanding, and, happily, they are coming soon to a Neighborhood near you.