Before co-working spaces there were coffee shops. Popular among college students, freelancers and other members of the gig economy escaping the isolation and distraction of working from home, these “third spaces” were — and still are — great places to throw on your headphones and get some work done. But what if you need to make a few phone calls, conduct a private meeting or print a report? Or what if your solo gig turns into a team project, or you need connections and support to move your business forward, or you simply crave more structure, community and conversation?

Co-working is the new third space, offering one part productivity, one part office amenities and one part community. But instead of justifying your presence with the purchase of a chai latte and chocolate chip scone, you’ll be expected to shell out anywhere from $30 a month for a virtual plan (once-a-week access plus business mailing address) to close to $2,000 for a premium package for five people. As with a gym membership, the price tag depends on your level of commitment.

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