Finding Your Third Space

Finding Your Third Space

Knowing the top priorities for when the office vibe just isn’t working.. .

It could be one of so many things: the dude next to you is doing his angry-face slam-typing again. Or it’s ‘bring your kids to work’ day. Or the air conditioning has broken for the twelfth time and your fingers have gone black. Or you just need some space damnit!
Whatever the reason, sometimes you need to break free of the office and reclaim some headspace, BUT you can’t just go anywhere. You need your third space, your work home from home. You may already know it: it’s that coffee shop around the corner behind the busy one, or the comfy chair by the plugs in corner of your gym canteen. But if you need some help finding your perfect third space, here is our essential list to get you started.  
1. Geography
This one is pretty obvious: You have to be able to get there easily, in a hurry, and get home again. I love some of the Paddington coffee shops but I’m not going to get a bus and two tubes to get there. You need to find somewhere that is less than ten minutes walk from either your office or your home. Preferably both.
2. Familiarity
This is the defining characteristic of a third space: you know it like the back of your hand. So even when you are far away from home, you can see a Pret and know that you’ll get their egg-white omelette and the right strength americano and a seat with a plug at 7.30am. (Obviously it’s nicer if you go somewhere so regularly that you know the staff and they slip you a quarter of your coffees for free, and maybe even the occasional too ugly to sell muffin, but sometimes you got to travel!).
3. Space
Pick somewhere where you can’t name the deodorant brand of the guy sitting next to you. Even with your headphones on, there is nothing more disconcerting that somebody reading your laptop over your shoulder. Make sure you’ve got some wiggle room, and not just by taking all the chairs!
4. Vibe
Loud music = bad. Shouty staff = annoying. All the kids at 3.30pm = possibility of fatalities. The vibe of your space needs to be consistent, for minimal distraction and maximum comfort. If it turns in to Comic-con the minute school kicks out you might want to think about a swift relocation.
5. Tribe
These are your people. I like a mix of stayers and strayers. I like to know that I’m not the only one who has settled in for the long haul, but I don’t like dudes who take noisy conference calls in my ear like it’s actually just their office. I like an old fellow reading his paper and supping pleasantly at his tea, but if freaks me out if he falls asleep and I think he’s died. Scope out your space and make sure this is the right gang for you to join.

6. Walls.
You almost certainly need electricity. know the plug spots.


by Louise Kean-Wood