30 . Jul . 2021
Summary – In line with the future of hybrid work, child-supportive coworking spaces are perfect to keep new parents, especially young mothers rooted in their workplace. Without having to choose between caring for their child and work priorities, shared spaces are rising rapidly as the middle ground that offers the best of both worlds.
Parents across the world face an everyday challenge of taking care of their children as well as keeping up with their work commitments. Especially for businesswomen working post-pregnancy, flexibility is a necessity for their work-life balance. For both onsite and remote employees, investing in daycare services outside of their place of work can be a huge risk since it’ll keep them far off from their children. Then, of course, there’s the possibility of a lack of proper care of their child’s needs. As per the latest study of the Early Childhood Program Participation Survey (ECFP), 50% of US families struggle with the difficulty of investing in childcare, causing mothers to be more vulnerable to unemployment. Every day 9 to 5 grind generally doesn’t suit parents since it can take away a lot of their precious time from their children. For new mothers, such bonding time opportunities can be a delight, especially in the initial months when their babies are entirely dependent on them. The only win-win solution is to have coworking spaces with childcare facilities that fit right in with their parents’ work schedules.
Unlike popular belief, working from home for new mothers is far more challenging as they have to struggle to complete work from one naptime to another. They may also have to rely on their partners for shuffling with the toddler care if their partners are working from home. Between all this the deadlines get pushed, meetings rescheduled, while all they need is a few hours of attention to get done with the project. Something that the home environment for two parents (both parents working full-time) can’t resolve.
It often causes parents to seek nursery or crèche facilities around their home, to catch up on the pending work. Since nurseries and daycare services from an external source came with escalating costs and inflexible models, there was a significant void left for parents looking for something that offers them the best home environment for both their children and their work, at affordable pricing under the same roof. Thus, numerous work-from-home mothers feel compelled to choose between their children and work. However, such an acute shortage of parent-friendly coworking spaces was felt by parents worldwide. For fashion blogger Ashley Wu, who’s also a mother of a 3-year-old and a toddler her experience caused her to open Maison, a women-oriented, shared office setting complete with work desks, couches, kitchen, and a hammock especially for working parents. Today, we see the rise of shared workspaces with childcare services across the world. Let’s have a look at the unique benefits that these spaces provide:
(The above graph depicts the percentage of fathers and mothers considering major alterations to their career – including leaving the workforce entirely – to keep up with their parental responsibilities, since the start of the pandemic)
Perhaps one of the most uncompromising situations that new parents can face is their inability to provide round-the-clock care to their babies when they’re working. In fact, working women, post-delivery, are often advised to take work at their homes for convenience, but it makes matters worse as things get pushed. Shared workspaces that provide on-site childcare fill in the gap when the parents need to get a few things sorted for the day, while not missing out on their child’s feeding, nap, or playtimes. Then of course, if you have kids, giving them opportunities to interact with other children away from school, as they play and learn together can be a gamechanger to help them identify their individuality, and work on their empathy and kindness.
Only parents know how relieving it is to have their children playing, learning, and taken care of – all within an earshot. Skipping the extra journeys to and fro nurseries off-site itself can save them a lot of hassle. Furthermore, parents can also choose to be on the lookout for their kids as they work, and can even take breaks for their infant’s feeding times or spending time with their children. The parents can also choose from the variety of activities for their children to participate in, such as art and craft, learning to play musical instruments, coding, etc.
Raising children can be a huge emotional, physical, and economic challenge. When the former two are taken care of, it’s only the economic standpoint that needs understanding. All external nurseries and creches come with a half-day/hourly and full-day/per-day plan, which can be tough to negotiate if you’re a full-time professional. Additionally, there are fuel costs involved in dropping off and picking up your child from the center. Then there are days when you may need a few extra hours of work but have to pay in full for the entire day. For a coworking space that provides childcare, you can make significant cost-savings on any hourly surcharges; as it would be imbibed into your complete subscription package. You can also cut back on the fuel charges, and save sufficient time. Coworking spaces can also come specially equipped with relevant licenses for childcare, healthy snack choices, trained childcare staff members, for all-round care of your children.
As a coworking operator, integrating childcare services into your facility can bring in a new audience to your community and enhance refine their work-life balance. The relieved, young, and experienced parents can help you to be a place for collaboration, productivity, learning for both adults and children as well as set new standards of quality in the industry. The future of the work is flexible, and having childcare-enabled workspaces is perfectly aligned to the post-pandemic, hybrid work setting.
At our shared office space in Kolkata, we planned to launch with a daycare service as part of our amenities. However, the pandemic has made this impractical for the time being. We still plan to launch this in the future, but for now our facility is simply a play area for children.