For many parents, the idea of taking their kid to the office every morning sounds like the stuff of nightmares. But for a growing number of moms and dads, working alongside (or in close proximity to) their little ones is a dream come true.
Enter the enlightened coworking space that offers childcare, a category that is on the rise and in demand. At these shared offices, it’s “take your daughters and sons to work” all day, every day. The challenge is making the economics work—childcare, as every parent knows, is wildly expensive. And any economic advantages associated with bundling desk space and childcare are minimal, at best.
One of the first such coworking spaces, CoHatchery, opened in Park Slope, Brooklyn, in the summer of 2015. But it shut down just a few months later after losing its sublease. Eventually, the company announced that it would reopen in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in the summer of 2017. But since then, it appears to have lost steam yet again.
In the suburbs, where space is at less of a premium, coworking spaces with childcare can thrive. Work and Play in South Orange, New Jersey, has taken over a whole house, devoting the ground floor to work and the upstairs to play. Parents pay a monthly fee, which taps out at $250, for access to a desk, and an hourly fee of up to $15 for access to childcare.
Our littlest entrepreneur at our mom owned business group meeting. It's also her last as she's "graduating" now that she's almost four months! #momownedbusiness #mompreneur #networking #professionaldevelopment #goalsetting #accountability #bringyourchildtowork #coworkingwithchildcare #conferenceroom
Regular offices with full-time staff are increasingly exploring onsite childcare as well. Patagonia, for example, has provided childcare onsite for over three decades, arguing that the benefit pays for itself in terms of employee retention, engagement, and more. Smaller companies have also found ways to make their offices family-friendly, adding nursing room and play spaces for the occasional snow day.
“Working moms at Patagonia can come back to work, stay close to their kids, and continue their careers,” says Dean Carter, Patagonia’s head of shared services for finance, HR, and legal. “There’s no stop.”
Since Patagonia began tracking the impact of the onsite care, 100% of moms have returned to their jobs after giving birth.