Why the ‘Fourth Place’ in real estate should come first

How hybrid has forced a ‘rethink’ of the way we experience

August 11, 2023

In real estate, we often talk about three places: our home, work, and social ‘third’ spaces. But there’s a fourth place that’s just as important: Our mind.

For knowledge workers, people who ‘think for a living’, the quality of our cognitive experiences define almost every experience we have, at work, at home and everywhere in-between.

The term ‘third place’ emerged in the early 2000s in response to the new and novel needs of freelancers, and entrepreneurs as new technologies (smaller laptops, mobile internet and more) enabled them to break away from ‘fixed-desk’ ways of working. They have been described by Ray Oldenburg as places that ‘facilitate social bonds’ and as by Julian Waters-Lynch as a 'novel solution to the challenges of entrepreneurial work and non-standard work arrangements'.

In these ways, third spaces, whether they be libraries or coworking spaces, offer an opportunity that is free of the singular constraints “the” office (a singular, routine place) with the added social benefits of connection to communities.

In the wake of the pandemic, with remote and hybrid ways of working moving from the ‘edges’ of the economy to the mainstream, the principles of ‘third places’ are more relevant than ever to our experience of work, but there is a need to bring attention to a place that we have taken for granted – our mind.

Our brain and mind are 'spaces’ that everyone occupies, all the time. It affects how we experience the other three places; the quality of our working experience in the fourth place is fundamental to our mental health, wellbeing, and how we experience the world around us inside and outside of work hours. Although we occupy it rent-free, it does not come maintenance-free.

Changing Minds

Around the world, we have varied ways of thinking about thinking. From a western perspective, we are encouraged to think about our cognition with a more objective metrics-driven approach, measuring, improving, and optimizing, whilst in eastern philosophies, we are more inclined to consider our cognition from a more holistic community perspective. 

We believe that the discovery of new ways to ‘choreograph’ the cognitive experiences of our work is key to enriching our personal and professional lives. In shaping new ‘workplace strategies’ and facilitating change to new ways of working, understanding how our spaces, habits and health impact our mind is more critical than ever. 

At JLL, we understand the importance of the fourth place and how it can influence workplace design. By considering the mental health and wellbeing of employees, we can create workplace strategies that maximise employee experience and engagement.

Let us help you design a workplace that supports the needs of your employees and enhances their overall experience. Connect with a JLL expert today.