Being a coworking for families is allowing mothers and fathers to continue working in a productive and healthy way without separating from their babies.
But with this era covid-19, a part of their lives has been affected. Yes, with their children, but mother and father working in home, without help, peace or tranquility that their coworking offered them.
Before covid-19, their great solution for them was a coworking with kids spaces. But like many businesses, these have also been affected by the criris. And they have had to close their door with an uncertine future.
So, what are they doing to overcome this era and how do they see the future of coworking with kids? I have talked with 3 coworking in Europe and they have told me about their experience. They are Tadah coworking in Switzerland, Work´n´Kid in Germany and El Círculo Coworking in Spain.
Reality and the true solution for the future
Many of the coworking with kids are driven by mothers or women who have a strong connection to motherhood, or their own work-parenting experience seeks solutions for the rest.
Even though the concept has been in existence for over 8 years, leading a coworking for families is not yet an option for families and companies that are so established. Leading a coworking for families requires a lot of work, communication, alliances, search for steakholders, etc.
But these coworkings resist this difficulty of the covid and work to continue as a true solution for the balance of work and life:
1.- How has the corona virus affected since the first confinement measures began?
Tadah: Switzerland decided to implement the «lockdown» (which wasn’t a complete one) mid March. We closed our space right away. This not because we officially had to, but because of many services that weren’t possible anymore (renting out meeting rooms and the entire location, holiday camps for children). As well the sales process with big corporates – that are very important for us – is a bit «grounded». As a lot of them have now budget freezes.
Work’n’Kid: I contacted all parents, discussed the situation and let them decide on how they want to proceed. Beside 3 all canceled, 1 didn’t came any more but continued some payment, 2 canceled a week later and 1 another week later. I kept on without childcare and half time coworking. Reduced prices during corona. Parents were allowed to bring the kids and selfcare. 1 mother stayed here all time with 1 kid. others showed up sometimes without kid. I re-opened childcare beginning of may with a closed group of 3 kids in the mornings. Starting today I will start with 2x afternoon.
Círculo: We are a coworking family friendly, so, since 15th March, when the confinement started in Spain, the whole of our coworkers with kids stayed at home. This means that only 10% of coworkers without kids could come to coworking, but they could work at home quietly without kids, so they didn’t coming either.
2.- What solutions have you been able to give to the parents during the confinement?
Tadah: Unfortunately we only were able to give them support with some online services, events and content in our magazine. The facilities were closed, so no child care was possible.
Work’n’Kid: Cancel, pause or book reduced service with reduced prices. Very flexible, bring (older) kids with selfcareclosed group of 3 kids later.
Círculo: The most of the parents use bonus with hours for them and for cobaby room. In this time, I dicided to extend the due date 2 months for each one. Also, during these weeks, I contact with all of them through whatsapp or email.
3.- What security measures are you going to implement in the space?
Tadah: As Switzerland reopened the school on May 11th, we also reopened the space on Monday. We took some security measures as separate tables / restructuring the space. We do clean all tables etc twice a day, have disinfectant. We wrote a security concept. For the coworking space we have a maximum capacity at the moment of 30 people, for the kids space we can take 15 children.
Work’n’Kid: Info paper onsite and via E-Mail // Newsletter with all info // 1,50m between workplaces (reduced worker) // Disinfectionsoap and spray to clean // Disinfect themself // Cleaning more often // Closed groups with registration only // Mask for those want it
Círculo: I sent them a dossier with instructions and some rules. The most of them are usual like clean your hands frequently, use mask when you are moving inside the coworking, let a free desk amid other coworker, but I request them to bring your own shoes to let into coworking, like flip flops. The access to cobaby room is not allowed with shoes, but in the coworking area the people should use shoes, of course.
4.- What have been coworkers’ biggest concerns about returning to the workplace?
Tadah: Honestly, no concerns at all (speaking of the people who came back). They are very happy and thankful that we are open again and that they can find a professional workplace with childcare here at Tadah.
Work’n’Kid: Child protection from corona
Círculo: The situation is still uncertain, so, the most of them don’t want to return until the alarm state finish and me neither.
Other coworkers without children start to coming last week, when Malaga arrive to Fase 1. They are more or less calm with this situation. The coworking has a big open area and they can sit far from others, and we meet us, so the best prevent measure is the mutual respect.
5.- How do you see the panaroma of coworking with children in the future?
Tadah: We hope that there will be a shift in mindset. What we all learned during that crisis is: working from home is possible for a lot of people and industries (who denied that before). But working from home with small children is almost impossible. We hope that a lot of corporates will rethink their way of work and the way they can and should support their employees.
Work’n’Kid: I hope the corona crisis will increase the demand for such alternative concepts as coworking with child.
Círculo: Well…. really is a uncertain panorama, but I hope this situation will be good for us. In Spain, the schools will be closed until September, so, we know is very difficult to work at home with children. I’m released some campaigns to promote the coworking for parents, to allow the come with or without children sharing plans to get some benefits. But, at the moment, all people is waiting to see how advances the situation.
We know the coworking family friendly is a good option for all of them, but my problem, is that these people don’t know about this option.
I share the opinion of these coworking about their future. I was commenting here, it is time for companies to see that teleworking is possible but, for working families it is impossible to do it with their children.
The great opportunity of coworking with kids is that more families and companies bet on this work model. And after living the covid-19 everything is possible.