Everyone should work at home. That's what the pundits were saying just a few years ago. The reality: whilesome people love the freedom, others have found working at home to be lonely and distracting. Thesolution? Consider these two options:

The Near-Home OfficeTim Celeski, an independent designer for 24 years, tried working from his Seattle home but found itdifficult. "It was completely psychological," he says. "I found myself working very late and seven days aweek."

So Celeski rented an office two blocks away. He found a retired couple down the street who were willing tolease him a guest house. The clients who visit Celeski come away marveling at the panoramic view ofPuget Sound from his office window. And there's another advantage. Celeski pays $39.95 a month forlightning-quick Internet access. Take the fast surfing, add the view and the rent break, and Celeski ishappy. "Kind of a slam dunk, isn't it?" he says.

The Food-Court Strategy A "recovering" lawyer living in New York City, Kristin Cuene has spent the past few months launching herInternet-based start-up, International Healthcare Exchange Inc. (IHCE). Working from home, she wasfrustrated by the isolation. Then her brother advised her to combine the search for affordable office spacewith the quest for newmedia peers. Cuene placed the following advertisement in the Silicon Alley Reporter,a new-media trade publication: Would welcome sharing space with an angel investor or other Internet start-up that would like to offerguidance and share the excitement of building a business in this lucrative sector.

Within a week Cuene had received 11 faxed inquiries. She finally decided to cohabitate with E TechnologyAssociates, a young consulting firm. The rent was only $400, and it included such perks as a sharedreceptionist and conference room, as well as help in obtaining funding. And there's a little added gravy:Cuene is still in talks with some of the companies whose offers she rejected. She's hoping to derive severalstrategic deals and one full-blown joint venture from the contacts.

"My only regret is that I didn't do this sooner," she says. --Mike Hofman and Shane McLaughlin