What is Coworking? It’s gonna’ be kidful.
I have long said that supporting working parents is one of the mountains we have to climb, for all workspaces, but especially for coworking spaces.
In my view, the gold standard will be a full partnership of child care and workspace.
But there are lot’s of variations which could appeal to different families.
Basically it’s a cubicle with a desk and a baby corral attached. The parental unit is pretty bare-bones, indeed sparse. The kidful unit is designed as a safe and attractive play space. The kid is in sight and within reach, but not free to roam. This enables mom (or, I assume, dad) to have two hands on the computer.
Alissa Walker reports these have been deployed in a public library . She reports these have been well received by library patrons.
Will we see these in coworking spaces? Probably. Is this a complete solution? Obviously not. For one thing, it’s really aimed and small kids. And it’s only really good for when the worker is working alone at a desk. Meetings will require something more.
And, of course, there surely will be questions about using these in an otherwise open and uncontrolled environment. Stuff happens. Kids make noise, other workers make noise. Kids will want to play with other kids. Workers will not want to sit near other people’s kids. And so on.
Now, I generally don’t consider special furniture to be an especially effective solution to a better workspace and work life.
But this is an interesting and low cost option for some working parents. If nothing else, having some of these stations is a really clear “welcome” to working parents.
- Alissa Walker, Finally, a Desk for Working Parents, in Cubed, January 25, 2022. https://www.curbed.com/2022/01/parent-baby-desk-fairfield-library-carrel.html