Creating Third Spaces within the Workplace

Woman on phone lying on couch w booksWhat are Third Spaces? And how do they affect you?

The first space is home. The second space is work. All other spaces in between that build community are often called Third Spaces.

In The Great Good Place, urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg discussed the power of third places, “informal public gathering places  [like]…cafes, coffee shops, bookstores and bars.”  According to Oldenburg, “social well-being and psychological health depend upon community.”

We spend most of our waking hours at work, so it follows that we incorporate these Third Spaces into the work setting to encourage social and psychological health. This is happening. We see coffee and wine bars, sports and video game areas and other informal gathering spaces popping up in the workplace now.

While Meditation Rooms don’t neatly fit into Oldenburg’s definition of third places in that they are inherently not designed for conversation, quiet spaces like Meditation Rooms in the office environment certainly contribute to psychological and, arguably, social well-being and health. Whether these areas are called:

  • meditation rooms
  • calm spaces
  • silent lounges
  • focus rooms
  • quiet zones
  • Zen patios
  • serenity rooms
  • private rooms

whether they’re indoor or outdoor spaces, whether they are by reservation only or first come-first served, they all contribute to employee well-being. Creating Third Spaces within the workplace®  enriches employees’ lives and health and, therefore, ultimately company health. Win-win!

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