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Child’s play – how can flexible office space support working parents?

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05/02/2020

Being a working parent is challenging and anything that helps in terms of time-management or achieving a more peaceful working environment is usually welcomed with open arms. A small portion of coworking spaces are now doing just this by offering on-site childcare.

Our What Coworkers Want research shows that having an on-site crèche is significantly more important for those in flexible offices, with 42% of flexible office workers viewing an on-site crèche as important compared to just 28% for those based in conventional offices.

Last year, the average part-time nursey cost for children under two in London was £183.56/week and for hiring a full-time childminder the cost was £307.77/week, according to government data. With childcare costs making up a significant part of a parent’s outgoings, the increasingly diverse amenities offered by coworking spaces and the growing number of self-employed parents, is it a surprise that some of the big coworking names don’t offer crèches? Perhaps not.

If one thing’s for sure, setting up a coworking space with a nursery is definitely not child’s play. It’s a complicated process when you need to take into account the additional regulatory, logistical and operational challenges that come with caring for children. Fortunately for freelance parents, a small handful of providers have risen to the challenge.

On-site childcare can make a huge difference in terms of convenience. Skipping the extra journeys to and from an off-site nursery can save a significant amount of time each day. In addition, if your end-of-the-day phone call runs over half an hour, you don’t need to worry about being late for pick-up time. In addition, there is often a sense of comfort of knowing that your child is close by, which is particularly helpful with very young toddlers. Whilst there is still an incorporated cost for coworking and serviced office spaces that include childcare, the convenience and flexibility it provides can be a deal breaker for those needing to fit childcare around their business needs.

1. Cuckooz Nest, Clerkenwell

Cuckooz Nest offers state-of-the-art childcare for children up to the age of two. It features an on-site crèche with Ofsted-registered staff, a darkened sleeping area, an interactive arts and crafts space and a three-to-one staff ratio.

 

In addition to a crèche, Cuckooz Nest offers a unique flexi membership option, where you buy bundles of hours on a weekly basis, with prices ranging from £14-20/hour depending on how many hours you buy. The monthly membership is £12/hour irrespective of how many hours a week you work, with an eight hours/week minimum commitment with a four weeks’ notice period. Both memberships include a workspace and use of the crèche.

For more information on this space, click here.

2. Third Door, Putney

Third Door launched in 2010 and was the UK’s first coworking space with an Ofsted registered nursery. Children can be left with Third Door all day, which is great if you have a full day of meetings or phone calls.

The combined nursery and coworking space package at Third Door starts at £368/month with a cap at 30 hours or one day a week and there is also the option of bespoke flexible packages ranging from 30-135 hours per month. Booking 48 hours in advance is required and upgrading or downgrading your package is simple.

3. Huckletree West, White City

With its kids studio, meditation yurt, yoga classes, podcasting studio and its immersive lab where you can learn how to integrate immersive technology (such as virtual reality) into your business, Huckletree West is ahead of its time. 

For £175 a month, on top of a desk membership that start at £420, Huckletree’s ‘Power Parents’ option gives parents either morning or afternoon access to their Kid’s Studio. This is an area that offers a play and private nursing rooms, along with baby-changing facilities. Childcare staff are not included, but Huckletree will help book a babysitter and hosts parent-focussed events. 

For more information on this space, click here.

4. Second Home, London Fields

Second Home opened in Spring this year. Greenery is abundant and wellness is a priority for this coworking space. N Family Club Nursery has set up a space in Second Home and there is even a rooftop garden for children.

Coworking memberships start at £350 and then the nursery charges separately, with rates of £80 per standard day for children over three years old and £90 for those under three. However, discounts of up to 7.5% are available if you opt for the full-time nursery option. Children at N Family Club Nursery are regularly exposed to Spanish and French, musicality is encouraged and children above three years old are enrolled on a forest school activity scheme that involves climbing trees.