Once upon a time, work was confined to a fabled land of water coolers, routine, and cubicles. When the internet freed the world to work from homes and coffeeshops everywhere, it seemed that the story would end happily. But entrepreneurial characters infused a new energy that demanded more from a work-anywhere-on-demand lifestyle that exists somewhere between the home, office, and coffee shop. This flexible place is known as the third space.
Third spaces (aka remote environments, coworking spaces, and hot-desking) are popping up all over the city, and we've covered a few of the best places you can now find. After you've seen 'em, we ask for your vote in the polls: where would you choose to spend your time (and your money)? If it's none of these, then feel free to comment about it.
This service promises 'beautiful, practical spaces' that you can reserve anytime on your smartphone. With a unique pin code, you can unlock a space rom a half hour to a whole day, from 6am to 11:30pm. While there are just five spaces to choose from in Back Bay and Harvard Square, they look eager to add more to their inventory. Rates range from $25 to $40 per hour.
As South Boston's self-proclaimed 'new home for innovation,' this is a civic space to gather and exchange ideas at an open workspace, classrooms, assembly space, flexible use pods, and writable walls. With coffee and food up for grabs in the café and restaurant inside, it's easy to stay awhile to get stuff done. Booking a space happens through a good ol' webform or email that's processed by the dedicated team for conference spaces smaller pods, and breakout spaces. Fees included setup and breakdown times by the staff, and can average $100 per hour. Hours are 7am to 12am. And if you get bored, pop over to the ICA across the street.
This Back Bay boutique office space provides entrepreneurs and small businesses with 24/7 access to a workspace and a regular roster of events like beer tastings and branding seminars. Get a desk for an hour or your own space where you can lock away belongings for the day. Membership pricing ranges from $50 per month for a coveted Back Bay mailing address to $100 per month for occasional use and $1000 per month for a private office. With a 30-day notice policy, working here is a little more formalized. Custom plans can be worked out, too.
Marriott powers this instant shared space finder that filters by space type, capacity, price, amenities, date, and time. Just need a desk for a few hours this week? There will be about 69 of them. Or a meeting space for an hour with a whiteboard and coffee? You're all set. Amenities are more complete with projectors, tv/monitor, whiteboard, coffee/tea, print/scanner/copier, phone, and filtered water. With self-service reservations, real-time availability calendars and ratings, selecting a space is easy. Rates range from $18 per hour for a desk to $200 per hour for a fancy room. And as an aggregator service, it lists options for everyone else who's open: Workbar, Oficio and private property owners who are interested in renting there space in an Airbnb-like manner.
Coworking and private offices are up for grabs with a membership fee that can run month-to-month for 24/7 access, blazing fast internet, lounge space, and a bar. You night owls should be happy about that one. From there, you can book a conference room on-demand by the half-hour. Because a membership is a little more commitment that many may be ready for, they're ready to give more too: discounts on over 200 brands like ClassPass, Zipcar, Moleskine, and Moo, to name a few. Membership varies from $45 per month for one day of workspace to $650 per month for an office in Fort Point or South Station. And if you're traveling to other major cities around the world, you will likely find a location there, too.
The most community-driven of all the options, Workbar promises an ecosystem of entrepreneurs upon becoming a member. Their Centers of Excellence accept applications for those who want to surround themselves with sector-specific professionals for additional mentorship. Part-time, full-time, and dedicated space options are available, which range from $30 per day for an open space to $3000 for a locked office. Locations run through Downtown Crossing, South End, Waterfront, Leather District, Dorchester, and Cambridge.