Out of our own curiosity, we polled some of the founders in our international circle that have or are building spaces with child care offerings to get their take on it all. Keep reading to see what they have to say.
*note: I received so much good feedback from the spaces and women I spoke with that this will be a multi part series so it doesn’t end up being the length of a short novel. Keep an eye out for the next two parts.
Space: Dayhouse coworking
Location: Chicago area
Having a parent-friendly workplace was actually what inspired me to start Dayhouse Coworking. Prior to launch, I was a blog editor and event producer, trying to work from home with a toddler. Needless to say, it was extremely challenging. A friend posted on Facebook that she was experiencing the same frustrations, and wished there was a coworking space with childcare. It was a “thunderbolt moment” — one those moments when you’re hit with a force that yells “HEY! DO THIS THING!”
Smallhouse, our childcare room, is in a corner of our building, on the first floor. It’s separated from the rest of the space with a double door system, and surrounded by brick (read: sound dampening!) walls. The kids have their own restroom, and there’s also a lactation room just outside of the playroom. At present, childcare is just for Dayhouse members. We had an after-camp program that ran for four weeks this summer, and in the fall we plan to offer scheduled care on a monthly package basis.
Smallhouse was part of our plans from the beginning.
Achieving critical mass to run programs at requested times. Luckily we’ve always hit our minimum number of kids to run a program, and this will get easier as we grow.
I’m really pleased with how much our kids like Smallhouse. It’s a cheerful room outfitted with blonde wood, paper garlands, and quiet toys. The design team and I are all Montessori moms, and we drew heavily on that shared experience when choosing materials for Smallhouse. Toys that light up and make noise were immediately nixed, and we don’t do screen time in the space. Instead we offer building materials, books, wooden toys for imagination play, and craft supplies. The kids have really been into it!
Outsource the childcare to a trusted third party. Don’t try to run it yourself, or you’ll end up running two separate businesses.
Check out Dayhouse here:
Space: MOMentum Coworking
Location: Dresher, PA
MOMentum Coworking & Kids Club was a natural outgrowth of what we needed as two full-time working mothers. Coworking with childcare was Jackie’s vision – she was a nursing mother with a problem. Flexible and enriching aftercare for her three children was Mary Beth’s passion. As an occupational therapist, and mom of 3 elementary aged kids, the traditional aftercare program at school was not flexible and was cost-prohibitive for 3 kids. With her occupational therapy background, she had some expertise about aftercare programming that would promote social participation, hobbies, wellness, play and leisure.
Our vision is to build a community of parents supporting one another with coworking space, shared childcare, enriching aftercare, opportunities for networking, socialization, play and learning. We’re proud of our progress helping working parents achieve better work-life balance while their children make first friends!
For families with infants (12 weeks to preschool age) we offer:
Coworking with childcare in a shared work environment (coffee, wifi) in which parents (of unrelated professions/industries, freelancers) are productive upstairs; children are cared for downstairs by experienced providers (background checks, CPR certification). Children engage in playtime (snacks & naps!), outdoor play, story-time and sensory activities. Parents are welcome to visit/feed/nurse their children any time. Options include 1 or 2 full-days (9A -5P) or 2 half-day options. We also offer a “coworking only” option for those who do not require childcare but may not want to work at home or the local coffee shop . Membership includes our activities (typically 1/month): parenting seminars, networking events, “parent and me” yoga and music.
We began immediately with coworking with childcare. We rent space in a church which helps to keep costs low during the pilot phase.
MOMentum Coworking LLC is currently a partnership between the cofounders.
We are the first and only program of this kind in the Philadelphia area. Because the concept is so new, we find we frequently have to educate others on the advantages of our offerings.
Caregivers are your biggest expense and most important asset. We have a dream team (literally, they can get the most difficult babies to nap!). But cracking the egg on how to staff based on membership is something that many coworking with childcare facilities are struggling with.
We are a grassroots program with community support, starting with 1 client in 1 location. Since our launch in January 2018, we’ve served over 70 families across 2 locations with a small staff and lean operations. We will continue to iterate our programs to serve the needs of working families who desire more time with their children. We didn’t wait for perfect, nor would we advise anyone to do so. There is no playbook for this concept and business model, we create it as we go!
Thats a wrap for this week. If you enjoyed this post- check back next week for part 2 and 3. Also- don’t forget to go follow these ladies and give them a shout out for sharing their knowledge and experience.