For parents with non-traditional careers, there’s a new trend of co-working spaces that include childcare. They best part is it actually saves money!
In just a few weeks, I’m going to have a sidekick with me, a brand new baby boy, and how I’ve operated in the past is about to change — trips to the gym require child care, a baby carrier will be my new fashion, grocery shopping will be a mastery of juggling baby with bags of apples, and my home office will be rearranged to accommodate a bassinet and a nursing pillow.
What’s been on my mind lately is how I’m going to continue to manage my business with baby literally in-hand. Certainly, I have a great team to support our clients, and my fiancé will be a huge source of help, but it’s become crystal clear to me that I’m going to need some modified child care early on to accommodate my business needs.
Enter a new trend in Canada — co-working spaces with on-site child care. Parents who freelance or own their own businesses are flocking to these spaces because they appreciate the flexibility and lowered costs of co-working and child care combined; and in most cases, they have the option to choose between flexible schedules.
The financial benefits of combining child care with co-working: A few weeks ago, one of my best friends invited me to the opening of the first Kids & Company co-working space, called Kidco Work, in Toronto’s Queen West district. As I toured the space, something in my financial brain was gnawing at me — what are the savings to be had by combining child care with co-working, regardless of the provider?
First, there’s the hard costs. If you were to arrange child care and office space separately, it would be more expensive than if you were to pay for the combination of the two. Let’s say, for example, you needed half-day care for your pre-schooler five days a week, it would, on average cost $600-$700 every month. Then, if you were to rent out a desk at an alternative location, like wework, WorkPlace One or Workhaus, for the same length of time, you’d pay between $300-$500 per month. When the separate child care and co-working desk space rentals are combined, on the lower end, the monthly cost would be $900, and on the higher end, it would be $1,200.
But, by combining child care with office space, in the same scenario, the costs hover between $800-$900 per month at a place like Kidco Work or The Workaround. That’s a major savings of between $100 to $300 every month! The money could be repurposed toward your child’s RESP, or your family’s rainy-day fund.
There are discreet financial benefits, too: Other financial benefits are less apparent, but are still worth noting. Specifically, by combining workspaces with child care, it eliminates time on the road away from your little one(s). This saves money on fuel and, if you’re breastfeeding, on formula or pumping equipment. And, for freelancers and business owners, potentially delaying a return to work equals missed income, potential sales or other professional opportunities. These co-working spaces eliminate that delay for parents and allow them to stay in touch with their business and clients; thus keeping their skills relevant for when a parent goes back to a full-time schedule. Last, if you’re a busy parent, chances are you might forget to pack you and your child a lunch. Co-working spaces for parents tend to have affordable healthy meal options to close that gap.
Parents with non-traditional working arrangements understand there’s a cost of convenience: As a parent-to-be, I’ve been warned that it’s hit or miss if my baby will sleep or co-operate when I need to get work done or have meetings. So, I understand the appeal, and cost, of having a set time each week where I know I can schedule meetings or get into the nitty gritty of my work. It’s a stress-reliever as opposed to hoping my child naps like normal or doesn’t get sick or doesn’t just go crazy on that one day where I need to sit down and work or be on a video call.
Because of the convenience factor, and the cost savings, that co-working spaces for parents provide, I can easily see this trend growing substantially in the coming years.
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