According to a study by the Center for Work Life Policy, 73% of women struggle to re-enter the labor market after having children. Although 91% of women say that having worksite childcare made it easier to come back to work after birth or adoption, and parents who brought their child on-site were 68% more likely to spend more time with their employer, only 7% of U.S. companies have invested in childcare services at or near the workplace.
Public debate about paid parental leave and, more recently, free or affordable childcare have yet to gain bipartisan support, so we set out to explore some private sector solutions for working families. With freelancers making up roughly 36% of the current labor force, and many of them choosing to work from coworking offices, several of these hubs have started offering childcare services to working parents.
We open our series on coworking offices with childcare services in the Midwest. Keep reading to find out more about these amazing communities that can double as your workplace and a playground for your children.
For freelancing parents looking for daycare options in Champaign, Ill., Lodgic brings over 100-years’ worth of experience in helping children in Illinois. Childcare services in this coworking space operate under the flag of Mooseheart, a foundation originally established in 1913 by the Loyal Order of Moose. It has been providing housing and schooling for children in need, and the Lodgic Kids Camp at 1907 South Neil Street embraces the six Big Moose Heart Values: empathy, caring, respect, kindness, responsibility and service.
Daycare is structured around hands-on, outdoorsy activities that will let kids explore, play and learn in a way that promotes healthy habits and social skills, while also developing a healthy body. Special attention is paid to nutrition, with both meals and snacks prepared in the on-site kitchen. Daycare operating hours are between 6:30 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, from 6:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Friday and between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. on Saturday. Parents can choose between a pay-as-you-go option, at $12 per hour, or a prepaid flextime membership of 25, 50, 75 or 100 hours, each offering progressively lower hourly rates.
The company offers childhood development programs for 12 months to 12-year-olds, grouped in three different learning environments, called the Nest, Meadow and Mountaintop. Each of these seeks to encourage the honing of emotional and social skills, learning and exploration.
The Haven Collective aims to be “the space to get your best work done” for freelancing parents looking for “coworking with a side of cuteness”. The company is the first coworking hub to offer drop-in daycare services for children between the ages of 3 months to 10 years in Columbus, Ohio.
Co-founders Melissa Blackburn and Danielle Lim envisioned their ideal office for freelancers looking to achieve work-life balance in a 7,700-square foot building located at 2025 Riverside Drive near Upper Arlington. Aware of the many challenges faced by budding entrepreneurs, especially when kids become a part of their lives, they decided to create an affordable, nurturing community. Starting at $12 per hour, members can make sure their little one(s) get the care they need for the day, while parents can focus on their latest project, just down the hall.
Mother-daughter co-founders Meg Cooper and Peggy Bustamante have always had a knack for bringing people together and building welcoming communities. They’ve put their experience and skills to good use by converting a former Victorian home, located just one block away from Cincinnati Early Learning Center and just 10 minutes from Downtown, Hyde Park and Newport into a coworking office that seeks to help young professionals and working parents.
The East Walnut Hills-based company has a nursing room, so mothers need not leave the premises every few hours. Parents can also to tend to their babies and check on their sleeping infants anytime they wish. In terms of daycare services, members can bring children as early as 3 months to 5 years old, and have them join their age-appropriate classroom, where they’ll learn practical life skills, enhance their language and spatial skills, as well as get plenty of exercise and opportunities for exploration in a safe environment.
Working hours are Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with daycare services available between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., allowing members a measure of flexibility to adapt their hours according to their needs.
The Detroit Parent Collective (DPC) takes its social role seriously. Its aim is to create not just an eco-friendly coworking space, with supportive daycare scheduling for working parents, but a place that encourages dialogue and interaction between individuals and families from different socioeconomic backgrounds, races and ethnicities.
This home-like coworking space in the heart of Detroit provides childcare for children up to 30 months old, in an Infant nook facilitated by a Child Whisperer, and a coop preschool for 2.5 to 6-year-olds. The facility uses Montessori educational materials and is in close proximity to the parents’ coworking spaces. Workers using DCP’s daycare services are assigned on a rotating basis to assist the Co-Master Teachers and provide morning snacks.
Parents can opt for a $40 per visit rate, per family, or pick a full day membership for $950 per month. Part day memberships are also available for $650 per month. DPC childcare hours are Monday through Thursday, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The Hatchery offer solutions for parents seeking to balance the needs of their infant with increasing demands for productivity at the office. The company, based in Columbia, Mo., helps workers ease back in to the labor force from maternity or paternity leave, offering a relaxed coworking environment that let’s parents re-engage with other professionals and get some work done, all the while safe in the knowledge that their toddlers are having fun or quietly sleeping in a room just down the hall.
There is a wide range of childcare packages on offer, starting with a 4-hour option for $25, to their popular 48-hour membership for $300 and an unlimited half-day option for $89 per month. Members can keep childcare hours until they are fully used up, as The Hatchery recognizes the unpredictable nature of parents’ plans.
However, this coworking company does not have a full-blown daycare center, so members who wish to use this service can only do so for a maximum of four hours per day, during regular business hours, Monday to Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 5: p.m. and Wednesday evenings from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Parents are required to be on-site while their child is at the daycare.
Employees can discuss their childcare needs with employers and split the cost of their Hatchery membership, or have their companies fully cover these services. Either way, they lead to a win-win for both parties, since parents can return to work guilt-free, being able to check in on their kids at any point during the day, and employers reap the benefits of better employee productivity.