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Co-Working Spaces With Childcare

June 14, 2018
Jamie Davis Smith
709 8th Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
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I don’t know any parent who doesn’t struggle with childcare at some point, whether it’s difficulty finding a babysitter, an unpredictable schedule for freelance work or a side hustle, a deadline that is looming, or just to enjoy some quiet time to catch up on a to-do list.  It’s not an easy problem to solve, but we are fortunate that a few area parents recognized this gap that needed to be filled and stepped up to provide co-working spaces with childcare that also create strong support communities for the parents who use them. 

Workafrolic

Visit: https://www.workafrolic.com/

Workafrolic was started by a Mom who gets it.  She wanted an indoor playspace for her little one, then thought about how great it would be if she could get some work done while her son played nearby.  Not finding anything nearby that fit the bill, she decided to create the space herself.  Workafrolic is located in a converted rowhouse in Eckington with two playspaces for babies starting at four weeks up to six years old.  Upstairs is a quiet workspace with desks, couches, and chairs, and a conference room.

I recently visited with my three year old son and we both loved the concept.  Workafrolic offers low caregiver to child ratios, lots of toys appropriate for all ages, and quiet space for kids who nap.  Upstairs is a bright and pleasant workspace for parents with all-you-can-drink coffee and tea included.  Sound-proof phone booths are going in shortly and there is an option to rent a conference room for meetings.

Kids can spend up to three hours at time with a caregiver while a parent works upstairs.  Workafrolic allows parents to leave for up to two hours and allows children to return for up to another three hours of care after a thirty minute break.  I really like how Workafrolic is flexible enough to allow drop-in care for an hour or two or makes it possible to get in a full workday.

If that’s not enough, Workafrolic also offers classes like pilates and yoga for adults with a childcare option and music and other classes for toddlers.  
 
For those who may want to use Workafrolic frequently various monthly membership options are available.  There is also the option to drop-in, although we recommend signing up online first to ensure there is available space.
 
Co-working with childcare options start at $19 and hour and memberships start at $249 a month.
 

Elemeno + Skillzone

Visit: https://elemeno.club/

Elemeno is a unique concept.  It’s an oasis in the city for busy parents and active kids by merging a kid-paradise complete with a balloon room, climbing area, trucks, ball pit and more in an atmosphere that also appeals to adults, complete with beer and wine.  Skillzone has long been a staple quickly became a staple for city families looking for a place to play, socialize, and have parties.  Skillzone recently expanded to become Elemeno, including co-working and childcare options.

The co-working space is upstairs in a quiet, modern space with plenty of seating options, a conference room, and sound-proof phone booths.  Parents work upstairs (or at one of the many nearby cafes and restaurants) while kids play downstairs with their assigned Play Buddy who keeps them company. 

Elemeno is not a typical childcare facility so staff will not change diapers or feed your child lunch.  Childcare hours are also limited to 3 hours a day.  While not a substitute for full-time childcare, it is a fantastic option for parents with unpredictable schedules or those who need a few extra hours of childcare during the week or on weekends. 

Elemeno is membership based and memberships include unlimited access to the co-working space, access to the Skill Zone play area, a limited number of childcare hours per month with the option to purchase more, and the option to rent out both the play area and co-working space for parties.  Memberships that include co-working are for a family, so both parents are able to use the co-working space and childcare option with one membership.

Memberships with co-working start $189 a month including four hours of childcare.  A two month membership is required to start then memberships are month-to-month.

Play Work Dash

Visit: http://www.playworkdash.com/

Play Work Dash, located minutes from Tyson’s Corner, is the oldest of the co-working spaces in the area.  It was founded by a Mom who ran a daycare center for 10 years.  She recognized the need for childcare for parents who needed some childcare, but didn’t want to commit to (or couldn’t afford) fulltime daycare.

Play Work Dash is a bright, open space made with parents in mind.  Co-working space includes desks and comfy chairs so everyone can work how they are most comfortable.   Free coffee and tea are provided and parents can bring their own food and drinks as well.  There is a sound-proof phone booth available for parents who want to make shorter phone calls or a private room that can be rented for more privacy.  Also available for rent by the hour is a large conference room, a smaller office for holding private meetings, and dedicated desks that can be rented by the month.

For kids, there are two large playrooms filled with just about every toy a kid could dream of from dress-up clothes to Paw Patrol figures, dolls, trucks, and more.  Children up to eight years old can be dropped off to play.  When I went to pick my son up he asked if he could stay “just a little tiny bit more to play with the toys” and when we left he wanted to know when we were going back.  The childcare providers were very good at making sure he had a good time and did not miss me at all!  Caretakers will change diapers if needed and provide children with Goldfish snacks or a snack you provide.
 
Play spots for children are offered in 90 minute sessions and children can stay for a total of three hours of day.  Parents have the option to stay and work on-site or sign children two and old up for a Dash pass and leave the premises.  Many parents stay the first couple of times they bring their children then after they feel comfortable and get to know the staff choose to dash more often!
 
Play Work Dash also offers some other services, such as camps, monthly office rentals for small businesses that cater to families who are able to use the on-site childcare, facility rentals for birthday parties and events, drop-off date nights and more. 
 
Childcare and co-working options are abundant and both memberships and drop-in childcare is available. Memberships start at $44 monthly and include three hours of childcare.  The most popular membership is $151 a month (with a six month commitment) and includes eight 90 minute childcare passes.  Several other memberships are available as well.  90 minute childcare passes are available for $21 for members and $26 for non-members.
 
The owner of Play Work Dash told me that some parents travel over an hour since there is nothing like Play Work Dash near them.  The good news is that Play Work Dash may expand in the near future so stay tuned to see if a location may be opening near you. 
 
Image Credit: Mindaugas Danys

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