Pandemic and lockdown has led to a further blurring of the boundaries between work and home and what was the third space; a report from Trajectory posits the development of a fourth space.

What is the fourth space? 

  • The third space is an environment, neither home nor work, that is used for leisure and socialising. But digital communications and greater informality have brought the workplace into the home, while the office environment has been increasingly reimagined along the lines of cafes. 
  • The pandemic, and the arrival and entrenchment of more digitally mediated leisure blurs this further – to such an extent that a separate, fourth space is arguably created. 
  • This fourth space is where digitally mediated versions of once offline, real-world activities take place, e.g. dialling into an exercise class, watchalongs, social gaming: the participants are disparate, but the activity and experience is shared.
  • Because the cost, experience and even social norms of such activity are distinct they should be thought of differently: these are new types of leisure, not recreations of old ones. 

Final thought

The fourth space could become more of a threat as technology advances and creates more immersive experiences. VR headsets that put all meeting participants in the same virtual room would be significantly closer to recreating the out-of-home experience than a Zoom call.

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Sourced from Trajectory