This article is part of our series to support economic resilience and regeneration. We collect knowledge and practices that people in different sectors are using to keep their businesses afloat right now. People discuss and share advice with one another by leaving thoughtful comments to each article. Contributors then receive invitations to opportunities for further learning and collaboration.
While our latest coworking session dived into some of the major challenges that are affecting the sector, one of the solutions that many raised throughout the entire event and one breakout session in particular, was the idea of making cowork somehow facilitate or support childcare. With many forced to work from home throughout the crisis, life and work became entwined. Coworking spaces could give parents a breather and one coworking facility put together a deal that focused on couples with children …
Attracting couples with children
“… results investing in couples, because they’re going crazy with the kids inside of the house. You want to atttract the couple so that you can make plans that the father comes in the morning or the mother comes in the afternoon, or perhaps one day the mother one day the father. Because one of the parent’s going to sacrifice themselves to take care of the child, and the other one’s going to get some work done so they can make something like that.
"We’ve just started to do that and we’ve been getting really great results. But it’s really in the beginning. Those are desperate people, so they need it.”
“One of the most successful things in coworking (spaces) here in town is actually providing childcare instead of (just) the coworking. So basically taking care of the kids while the father or mother is actually working inside the co-working space with an expert on childcare on the specific room dedicated for this. This is super helpful at this moment.”
“Because if there’s anything we can all agree on, apart from not knowing what’s going on in the future, it’s also that the last three months or four months have been a great test of what happens when there’s no childcare in place.”
“I know that’s what most people are looking forward to in September. Not just shipping the kids off to school, but getting some routine back and going on, because I think every one of us has probably heard this to death, but in terms of having all of this imposed on us, as opposed to actually working the way we all want…”
“It doesn’t matter if you have been remote working for years. If you’re suddenly homeschooling in the mornings, your day has changed. But it’s just a question again, does anyone who’s running a co-working space looking to bring that on board as a service and potentially the all important one from a pure business point of view revenue line?”
“Here in Brazil, the legislation to bring a person to take care of other people’s child is going to be impossible for safety and things like that. So we cannot even… We’re not even going to touch that.”
“Being around other people’s offspring all day … it’s a question if that’s going to work for everyone. But what we are seeing is that there are solidarity networks that are popping up around businesses and with logistics and all of this stuff, so maybe they can work together with the spaces. Because one of the things they (the solidarity networks) are complaining about is lack of physical spaces to coordinate around. In Stockholm, one of my partners has a coworking space and they turned it into a factory for protective gear for nurses and doctors, frontline medical workers. And the other thing that happened is that they also have been focusing more on artists. The community of people who are renting spaces for studios that has gone up while the desk rental has gone down. This could be an opportunity to align interests and resources.”
This summary is from an event was part of the NGI Forward project Generation Internet (NGI) initiative, launched by the European Commission in the autumn of 2016. It received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 825652 from 2019-2021.
If you have any ideas or examples of how coworking spaces can incorporate childcare into their facility, to help support families and increase revenue streams then please comment below.
Due to the interest in this topic during the event, here on the platform and in the freelancer community organising the freelancer week, we have decided to organise an event specifically on remote work and childcare:
Please comment there if you have topics, or questions you would like t o adress or if you know someone we should approach to join our panel of freelancing, coworking and remote working parents.