Working from home is the ultimate luxury in a corporate world. However, if you happen to be a writer, designer, artist or someone that needs to call on the mystical and unreliable internal revenues of inspiration to complete your work, in addition to space you need time. Acres of it. But you happen to have kids, you can kiss goodbye your capacity to have any stream of consciousness thoughts in your own home. Don’t despair, if you’ve already tried locking doors and stuffing in earplugs, seek out a co-working space instead. The type that comes with a child-minding service. They exist.
Co-working spaces with childcare facilities are as rare as hotel rooms for families of five. Despite the obvious synergy of the idea, apparent to any parent who has tried to re-join the workforce with kids in tow, government regulations in many countries make it difficult to find compliant space and make a profit. But there are a few trailblazers managing to make it work, so we can work, uninterrupted. Don’t expect the gloss and hip factor that comes with the shared office set-ups of our single and unencumbered brethren. The focus here is on the peace of mind that comes with knowing your kids are near yet so far, allowing you the peace to dream and deliberate. Yes, and if you just need a few spare hours to sort through the receipts in your wallet or do your taxes, you can do that too.
Designed with the get-shit-done woman in mind, this Melbourne-based facility is a simple solution for those that need a few hours to themselves without too much forward planning. Operating from Kensington Neighbourhood House on Monday and Thursday afternoons, it functions on a casual basis with only 24-hour notice required on bookings. There is ample space for kids to roam inside and outside (and away from you) under the supervision of qualified and experienced childcare workers. Your rental of the space is 100% tax deductible if you have an ABN. And despite the name, men are welcome too.
Dedicated to freelancing parents, Upswing operates out of multiple community centres across Sydney’s North Shore, so you can mix and match locations. The initiative is led by enterprising educators so the needs of children have been properly considered. They offer childcare and a creative space for parents in 3 hour blocks and you can adjust the frequency of weekly sessions depending on what package you take.
This professional centre is the only co-working space with a crèche in Perth. While they primarily position themselves as partnering with businesses who need a smooth return-to-work transition for staff after maternity or paternity leave, it is perfectly set up for a start-up or self-starter too. It aims to create a collaborative environment for creators and innovators and networking events are a regular feature. Not least, those not used to being able to sit still for 3 hours without interruption can pick up a neck and shoulder massage.
This is what co-working looks like in a city that expects both parents are working. Instead of childcare you’ll find a Reggio Emilia inspired Atelier. Rather than a basic room that moonlights as a community hall you’ll find multiple bright and beautiful spaces dedicated to professional adults as well as common spaces where kids and parents can mingle. And you’re not out in the suburbs – you’re smack bang in the middle of Orchard Road. A well-stocked pantry, storage facilities, registered mailing address and Atelier access from 9am to 6pm means you can base yourself here full time. It might cost you, but this is the co-working of the future.
Japan is not known for being magnanimous when it comes to supporting women who need or want to return to work after having kids. So it’s something of a feat that Hatchwork has cracked open the working mum culture and established a space where parents can work uninterrupted from 11am to 4pm while their kids happily play. If your child is 8 months or younger though, you will need to work from the child and parent room. Promising progress.
The Workaround, New York City
Co-working spaces for parents in major US cities such as San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle are met with major hurdles before they get off the ground and initiatives in each of those cities have folded. New York is no exception. But two women working in television production and web design who happen to be Mums have crafted a clever solution. It’s not glamourous and sessions are limited but they provide functional working space for parents while children can play and be supervised by professional babysitters within the same building. Co-working for hipster parents.
Third Door, London
One of the few places in the UK to successfully get a co-working space off the ground, Third Door opens its doors to freelancers and small business owners in South West London. The ethos here is all about creating flexible options for the entire family. The Ofsted registered nursery can be used independently, whether you’re working on-site or not, and provides a proper learning environment. Meals are included and you don’t even need to pack any wipes!
A visual designer and psychologist come together to create a contemporary and multifunctional space for parents and children. Hello, it’s in the design capital of the world, and yes, its won awards. This space has been custom designed by skilled craftsmen to create just the right amount of collaboration and separation between creative and kids. You can be sure that this place is dedicated to the integration of family and work life. Go forth and prosper.
While co-working spaces for parents are still few and far between, there are some new facilities in the pipeline globally. As the business world cops to the fact that offering childcare facilities on-site is a great recruiting tool, perhaps we’ll live to see a working parent, have-it-all revolution.