Is Third Space Becoming the Primary Space?

Posted 5/11/16 by Shawn Green in Business

innovative furniture solutions

The office world is abuzz with the term “third space”; that gray area outside of your home and the traditional office space. Have you enjoyed a coffee while catching up on emails at Starbucks? Have you kicked off your shoes and taken in some sunlight on an outdoor patio while crunching on a work deadline? Then you’ve taken advantage of a third space. With the explosion of mobile technology, Wi-Fi and the Cloud we really are able to work anywhere. With this freedom also comes choice; workers are choosing the environments that best suit their work styles.

At KI, we embrace this shift in mentality, realizing that third space is becoming primary space for many workers. Rather than pushing workers out of the office, how can you accommodate their growing preference for flexible, comfortable and even residential environments?

It’s about options. Providing a variety of environments where employees are encouraged to work is key to keeping them engaged, productive and happy. 

Third Space vs. Office Space

While third spaces have been around for quite some time in the form of lobbies, lunch rooms, break rooms etc., most organizations neglect to think about the actual use, specifying furniture and planning layouts not conducive for working.

What should you keep in mind when planning third spaces? Here a several recommendations:

  • Head back to college. Take a look at how students are using space in colleges and universities. This is a good indication of what is expected as younger employees enter the workforce.
  • Ask your employees what they want. Get their input on the ways in which they work. Find out the pros and cons of your current environments and fill the gaps.
  • Assess your organization’s work styles. Take stock of your employees different work styles. Some disciplines require environments that support more focused work while others may require flexibility and higher levels of interactions. Planned third spaces should reflect these styles.
  • Be creative with furniture solutions. Instead of purchasing traditional lobby/lounge furniture consider innovative furniture solutions that take into account not only aesthetics but also user comfort. KI’s Sway lounge chair brings the movement and comfort of a task chair to a third space environment. Its orbital motion allows users to move front to back, side to side and anywhere in between.

For more information on Sway lounge and its benefits to third spaces, view our video:



Shawn Green

About the author: Shawn Green

Vice President of Design & Product Marketing Shawn Green is the vice president of design and product marketing at KI. He is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the design, development and growth of KI’s furniture solutions for education, healthcare, government and corporate markets. Shawn leads and inspires multiple KI design and product development teams. He utilizes his broad experience in product management, design, development and marketing to ensure KI remains adaptive and efficient, while ensuring a consistent visual language throughout the entire design process. Prior to joining KI, Shawn spent several years at Knoll, where he served as the director of storage marketing and as a director of product marketing for systems furniture. He also held product management positions at Steelcase and Trendway. Shawn holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hope College in Holland, Michigan.