MADRID, SPAIN. More and more homeworkers around the world are moving out of their bedrooms and into communal offices in hopes of separating their home and work lives. This new office concept, called coworking, provides clients with the space to actualize their business ideas.

These spaces for independent workers are carefully designed offices that boast young, trendy vibes. Utopic_US’s space in Madrid connects to a bar with just the right amount of grunge, and workers come and go in t-shirts and jogging shorts. One of Hub International’s Madrid locations houses itself in a converted warehouse. With minimalist decor and lofted ceilings, the design’s intention seems to help put those of us who get a bit of cabin fever during working hours at ease. A touch of vintage hipsterness and airy modernity keeps the offices’ atmospheres fresh and productive.

Prices range from 2.5€ per hour to 250€ per month. These rates include simple access to a table and wifi to unlimited fixed desk space, wifi, access to conference rooms, workshops and classes. Utopic_US offers Spanish classes for foreigners living in Madrid, and Hub International connects its clients to an international network full of a diverse set of entrepreneurs.

The idea is to provide a comfortable — both physically and intellectually — working space for like-minded people that contains an abundance of services. According to the Global Coworking Survey, 70% of respondents were happy with their coworking space and situation, and 80% report being more motivated.

But in a time of economic crises, shouldn’t self employers, freelancers and start-up entrepreneurs focus more on saving money and less on trendy vibes?

As my father always said, you have to spend money to make money, and coworking spaces are a social investment of sorts. Show up with your laptop, get to work, network and learn about business all for a bit of your earnings. But while these spaces surely provide invaluable opportunities to connect and grow one’s business, surely there are cheaper ways to do so that avoid all the excesss.

On a recent tour of one company’s facilities, one representative showed me the TV room where they offer massages every Thursday. Another space’s storefront window advertises access to a gym. A third heavily markets their tasty, unlimited coffee.

These country-club-like offerings add up, and to a certain extent, the deal’s not bad. But are the few connections made in a stylish environment really worth it? Appearance matters, but no amount of sparkly packaging can run a business alone. Instead of concerning themselves with being part of the next big social marketing and design ploy, entrepreneurs need to keep focusing on a high level of quality. Business tactics continue to rapidly change with the market around them, but the past’s need for substance will always drive out any need to simply look cool.

After all, the desk you have at home is probably just as big as the one you’re paying for. But maybe you just can’t focus in bed.

Need a quiet, productive place to work? The library was invented 4,000 years ago.