Home offices are nice. After all, you designed it. And there's not a beige carpeted cubicle wall in sight (unless you're into that sort of thing). But if you're craving the human interaction and (occasional) free donuts that a traditional workspace has to offer, try finding a coworking space in your neighborhood.
If you need an office away from home, your new workspace is only a moderate monthly rent away.
Coworking spaces are popping up all over the country, and right under your nose. Most of them look and feel like a cool, creative agency workspace, but they're "staffed" with a crew of independent workers working on independent projects who rent the desks there.
Most coworkers are freelancers in their twenties and thirties, working in new media and creative industries. They benefit from the meeting of the minds that happens when talented people get together in the same space:
"Some coworking spaces were developed by nomadic internet entrepreneurs seeking an alternative to working in coffeeshops and cafes, or to isolation in independent or home offices...Coworking offers a solution to the problem of isolation that many freelancers experience while working at home, while at the same time letting them escape the distractions of home."
So if you need a little time away from your home office—or you're working on a project that's too big for your studio apartment workspace—take a look into renting a desk in a coworking space.
A quick survey of a handful of spaces shows that plans are really flexible, depending on your needs. A dedicated desk, 24/7 key access and access to conference rooms will run you several hundred dollars a month in most markets. But if you just want to plop down in the corner of a conference table and enjoy communal coffee from 9-5, you can find a space for as little as $80 per month.
Want to find a coworking space near you? Check out the communal workspace directory at Coworking Wiki. Most spaces offer $5-$20 drop-in day passes to get a feel if the space is right for you.
(Images: Greenpoint Coworking Space, Brooklyn; Citizen Space, San Francisco)