Sunday Dec 04, 2022

How third places are becoming mainstream – JLL

Making the connection

Technology has and continues to play a big part in the shift to third places, with the switch to online meetings over the course of the pandemic giving rise to new levels of connectivity and flexibility.

“Just look at the recent removal of landline desk telephones in so many workplaces,” Pradère says. “We’re more connected than ever and the fact that people take calls online remotely removes immobility.”

At the same time, user expectations around tech put locations where support is on offer at an advantage in attracting and retaining talent. Around 60% of respondents to JLL’s survey name tech and equipment as the primary support they expect from their employer.

“One of the reasons employees miss the office environment is the access to everything they need to work, from amenities to the right type of chair and IT support,” Pradère explains. “The pandemic proved how poorly-equipped we were for working at home. In this context, giving people access to a highly equipped work environment close to their home place looks very attractive to the workforce.”

High expectations

Expectations are also high among employees around amenities and health and wellbeing.

“The need for support for employees, from managerial support to interaction with colleagues, transcends locations and workplace options,” says Pradère. “There’s an expectation to be supported by employers in new workstyles.”

The need for face-to-face collaboration remains at the same level as JLL’s research found just over one year ago; half of those surveyed still miss the social interaction while they are working remotely today.

“More people are back in the office, but face-to-face meeting is an aspect of office life which is just as missed as it was in 2021,” Pradère says. “It’s a need which should be at the heart of companies’ workplace approaches.”

Earlier this year, JLL’s Perspectives for Enterprises report found that companies are unprepared for the structural shift to hybrid working. Not properly supporting hybrid employees could result in “a loose network of independent, disengaged workers”, Pradère adds.

The shift away from working at home continues. Working in one single location – be that home, office or a third place – was reported to be the least satisfying scenario. A week that is split 60-20-20 respectively between office, home and third place, is likely to become the most popular pattern in the medium to long-term.

“If working from anywhere is the next step for hybrid work, it will be an equilibrium that’s hard to achieve,” concludes Pradère. “It’s both full of promises but also challenges.”


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