We\u2019ve talked plenty about the drawbacks of working at home\u00a0- distractions, isolation, overworking\u00a0- as reason to seek alternatives. But I\u2019m not convinced they outweigh the benefits\u00a0- namely the flexibility and the ability to deal with the world on your own terms for the most part.\n\u00a0\nBut now entrepreneurs are creating \u201cthird places\u201d to work that take what you like best about working at home and combine it with what you like best about working in the office.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0We\u2019ve talked plenty about the drawbacks of working at home\u00a0- distractions, isolation, overworking\u00a0- as reason to seek alternatives. But I\u2019m not convinced they outweigh the benefits\u00a0- namely the flexibility and the ability to deal with the world on your own terms for the most part.\u00a0But now entrepreneurs are creating \u201cthird places\u201d to work that take what you like best about working at home and combine it with what you like best about working in the office.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u201cSo people are building offices again,\u201d said a colleague when I explained. (I might have detected a note of cynicism but because we were on the phone I couldn\u2019t be sure.)\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u201cYes\u00a0- but these offices are better,\u201d I said. \u201cHere, you don\u2019t have to work with the people you work with. You get to work with the people you like.\u201dThe goal of Gate-3 Workclub in Emeryville, Calif., is to create a new kind of community where neighborhood people can \u201cwork and network and hang out with friends,\u201d founder Neil Goldberg says.\u00a0Gate-3 (which means portal to the third place) sits just over the Bay Bridge from San Francisco, a less-than-10-minute drive for more than 2 million people. \u201cPeople go to Starbucks to be around other people. To get to know them would be nice. We\u2019ll facilitate that interaction,\u201d Goldberg says.\u00a0An industrial designer and architect who spent five years at Herman Miller, Goldberg designed the 14,000-square-foot facility and former warehouse into common areas (communal lounges), touchdown spaces (cubicles) and team spaces (meeting rooms).\u00a0 There\u2019s full-time lobby reception, and all the office amenities you\u2019d expect such as mailboxes and support services.The touchdown spaces are further broken down into \u201cneighborhoods\u201d (the buzz zone, the hush zone and the inner sanctum) that suit workers\u2019 preferences. \u201cHuman beings are very different. Some have a hard time with people watching them work. Others don\u2019t mind being seen, but they don\u2019t want to be heard,\u201d Goldberg says. \u201cWhen they say they\u2019re looking for privacy, they\u2019re usually seeking some position on a privacy gradient that balances their need for exposure with their need for solitude.\u201d\u00a0The 40 or so members of the Wi-Fi-equipped club drop in for a few hours a week. They rove around, spending time in the common areas or cafe, a few hours working in a hush zone, or meeting with a colleague or client in a conference area. They\u00a0 make private phone calls in a \u201ccone of silence,\u201d (aka phone booth), have support staff make copies, overnight a package or get a laptop repaired. Members can bring in their dog (if he\u2019s quiet and passes an interview), and bring the baby (and they\u2019ll deal with any crying), Goldberg says.\u00a0In the prototype stage now, the club is open but won\u2019t be formally unveiled until September. Touchdown spaces will soon feature Herman Miller\u2019s new \u201cIntersect\u201d office system, and some conference rooms will\u00a0 feature Herman Miller\u2019s \u201cResolve System.\u201d All over will be Mirra chairs, the next generation Aeron.Of course, additional clubs are part of the business plan, and some might even include daycare centers, says Goldberg, who has a 4-year-old son.\u00a0 To help promote community, Gate-3 will begin offering seminars on how to improve work\/life balance, build the perfect Excel spreadsheet and the like.\u201cThis is a completely new model so we don\u2019t know what to expect. But we\u2019ve just started getting small groups of people joining together, so they can work around their friends,\u201d he says.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0Based on the country club model, a $135 monthly fee gets members access to the common areas, Wi-Fi hot spots, caf\u00e9, and eight hours of \u201ctouchdown\u201d time in an office space - after that an hourly fees kick in.