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You Don’t Need To Pay A 30-Year Home Mortgage. You Need A Third Place To Feel Rested.

You Don’t Need To Pay A 30-Year Home Mortgage. You Need A Third Place To Feel Rested.

What’s better in life to have such a cozy home and office? Just a glance at the picture already makes you feel good, right?

    Most of us spend over 80% of our time at home and in the office. It seems the environments of these two places largely affect our happiness and mental health.

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    But what if I told you actually you don’t need to spend a large sum of money for an ambient flat or hop from job to job for a pleasant workplace?

    Then you may ask “What other place do I need instead?”

    You need a third place. Having a balanced life is as simple as that!

    Have you ever wondered why you felt relaxed or uplifted when you’re in cafes, bars or recreation centers? These are the examples of third places suggested by Ray Oldenburg, an American urban sociologist, in his book The Great Place.[1]

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    While the home and the workplace are defined by Oldenburg as the first place and the second place, the third place means the public area which allows us to gather and have social interactions with others.

    When Oldenburg introduced this concept in 1989, he only focused on exploring how the third place helps bring a community together. But a recent study conducted by Dr. Adam Fraser and Deakin University has found that people who visit their third places often have better work-life balance than those who confine their lives to their homes and their workplace.[2]

    The reason for this is that they do not only pack their daily schedules with obligations from family and work, but know how to appreciate the little moments in life. In other words, they master the art of living in the present.

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    The third place makes you mentally stronger and more productive

    What’s more surprising is that the study also found that people with their own third places are more resilient and better at dealing with difficult times. Spending time in coffee shops or bars helps them shake off the negative emotions coming from other aspects of their lives.[3]

    Even if you’re not the ones who like socialising with strangers, finding your third place still benefit you a lot. Research has shown that everything in coffee shops – the noise, the lighting and the dynamics – creates a favorable environment to boost your creativity and concentration level! That’s why you may find you have more ideas and work faster when you go there alone.[4]

    How to find you own third place when there are so many options

    If you have no idea of how to find your own third place, you can make use of this 3Rs rule to find a suitable one. That’s great if you’ve already had one! But you can still check to see if your third place is good enough or not:

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    Reflect

    Traversing your home and your office every day can be a draining experience. Sometimes, you just wish to have a space to reflect on what you do for a whole day. An ideal third place should enable your mind to get into the tranquil and focused mode so you can think more deeply.

    Rest

    Your body will send the signals when you’re in your ideal third place. Say, your mind and your muscles will be in their most relaxing state. Watching a movie at the theatre, taking a walk in nature, or listening to your favourite songs in your car are all good options. Don’t limit your third place to the definition set by Oldenburg, Time has changed and so the definition should change as well. Finding a place that you feel comfortable when being alone is necessary for you to take a rest from your hectic life.

    Reset

    Finally, an ideal third place does not only make you feel relaxed but also energized. It should give you some stimulation so your life has more colors! For example, I usually go to the restaurant where my favourite band performs every Friday after work. Enjoying the delicious foods and the band show there refreshes my mind and gives me more energy for the challenges ahead. This can hardly be gained at home or at work.

    Tie your shoelaces and look for your third place now. You’ll find that life doesn’t need to be routinised!

    Reference

    More by this author

    Ricky Tang

    Editor. Movie Lover. Amateur Singer.

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    Last Updated on September 28, 2020

    The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

    The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

    At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

    Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

    One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

    When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

    So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

    Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

    This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

    Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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    When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

    Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

    One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

    Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

    An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

    When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

    Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

    Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

    We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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    By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

    Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

    While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

    I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

    You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

    Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

    When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

    Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

    Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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    Con #2: Less Human Interaction

    One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

    Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

    Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

    This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

    While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

    Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

    Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

    This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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    For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

    Con #4: Unique Distractions

    Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

    For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

    To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

    Final Thoughts

    Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

    We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

    More About Working From Home

    Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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