While full flexibility in the workplace isn’t yet the norm, it’s certainly on its way.
But how agile are the other services we rely on, such as childcare?
Wendy House Day Nursery has been receiving more requests for flexible childcare since the pandemic prompted employers to embrace flexible working practices.
...And we’re pretty sure they’re not alone.
A small percentage of coworking operators are offering flexible childcare services alongside their standard desk and office memberships.
It makes perfect sense to combine flexible working and childcare within the same location. Doesn’t it? Actually, it’s not as easy as some might think.
In an article published by Sifted, Jelissa Risse explains that pioneering a family-focused coworking space isn’t an easy ride. Risse opened The Village Coworking in Lausanne, Switzerland back in 2017.
“Both coworking and childcare are models where revenues are not secure, they fluctuate during holiday times and as children grow, the turnover can be quite high.”
However, partnering with an established childcare provider can help coworking operators reduce risk.
A year after opening, Risse partnered with professional childcare programme l’écoline to provide childcare to a broader age group, and a summer programme for non-members during the school holidays.
Let’s find out more about how a handful of trailblazing operators around the world, including The Village Coworking, are paving the way for flexible childcare.
Co-founders Jelissa, Nuria and Megan met in December 2016 after discovering a shared interest in opening a baby-friendly coworking space in Lausanne.
With the concept “it takes a village to raise a child” in mind, they combined forces to open The Village Coworking. Their aim is to enable people to create a healthier work, life and family balance.
The coworking space is just a few meters away from the childcare facility. Members can also get involved in workshops and networking events.
“It takes a village to raise a child.” Co-founders Megan, Jelissa and Nuria.
Nexudus customer, El Círculo, is Malaga’s first family-friendly coworking space.
Upon entering the building you’ll find a bright and spacious workroom, a CoBaby room for learning and play, and a whole suite of facilities - including meeting rooms and a kitchen.
El Círculo is currently offering inquisitive new coworkers a free trial so if you happen to live in Malaga, be sure to get in touch with the team!
As with the other workspaces on this list, being a parent isn’t a prerequisite - members can just opt for a flexible coworking membership only.
Described by local reviewers as “one of the best coworking concepts in Berlin”, “beautiful and well located”, and “simply great”, JuggleHub is a community for anyone in need of a desk - including working parents who want to make use of the flexible childcare.
The childcare facilities are suitable for children ranging from six months to five years, however, in the spirit of flexibility, exceptions can be made on request. Coworking members also benefit from a weekly community lunch, yoga classes, and a monthly “Eat & Greet”.
As with many of the spaces on our list, Cuckooz Nest in London was “created by parents, for parents.” It enables new parents to transition back into the workplace smoothly by providing onsite childcare and an adjoining workspace that’s free from distractions.
Cuckooz Nest offers more flexible hours so that parents can work to a schedule that aligns more closely with their requirements, instead of having to work around standard nursery hours. With childcare in the same building, parents are close enough to breastfeed babies throughout the day or read them a story at lunchtime.
Coworking Cvernovka is a small coworking space located in a suburb of Bratislava. Michala Hrnčiarová is the founder. In February 2020 she opened a second space called Kolabo Coworking at a shopping mall close to Bratislava Airport.
Watch Coworking Europe’s interview with Michala to find out her company has weathered the pandemic, and why she’s feeling optimistic about the future.
Situated in the heart of St. Petersburg, House of the Gnome is a coworking space for parents, with the childcare offering operating as an alternative to kindergarten.
The company has six core values: unconditional acceptance; a safe psychological environment; respect for the individual and the right to be yourself; a balance of interests; a focus on the “here and now”, and freedom and responsibility.
“In 2011, ten misfit moms (artists, writers, entrepreneurs, designers, makers, educators, professionals), our kids, and a hired babysitter met in each other’s homes for nine months before we got up the nerve to open our non-profit space.”
HackerMom is a creative life lab for mothers, a place where moms can make (mistakes), hack, start businesses, collaborate and grow. Programmes include a business incubator and a 3-month failure club, where members tackle difficult projects together.
Trehaus is all about enabling work-life integration and so comprises a business club, on-site school, and a family club. It describes itself as “a modern village where the future family works, learns, and plays together.”
The family club offers flexible weekend memberships that provide families with access to a 2,000 sq ft indoor space complete with a beach caravan, art atelier, and creative STEM maker space. Oh - and for the kids, a sandpit area and indoor play area with toys.
Designed for freelancers and small teams, QF is an innovative work hub in the heart of Milan. It contains the usual coworking facilities - desk space, meeting rooms, breakout areas, and a kitchen - but has the added perk of excellent onsite childcare facilities too.
This description doesn't do it justice. Head to the Instagram page for the bigger picture.
Mu’hu is Chile's first coworking/childcare space.
In terms of business services, members are offered consulting, mentoring, workshops, and more. Childcare is available for young children (aged one to five) and the playground space enables parents to spend quality time with their young ones at breaktime.
A range of “pandemic services” are also on offer, including monthly passes, SOS childcare plans, and spaces for therapists who need a private space in which to meet with clients.
All being well, we’ll start to see more coworking operators embracing childcare as society continues to move towards more agile working methods.
Do you run a child-friendly coworking space or are you considering taking the leap? We’d love to hear about your experiences. Share your experiences - the good, the bad, or the ugly - with us on Twitter by tagging us at @Nexudus.
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