With the growing number of coworking spaces opening and operating in the United States, has come an increase in the amount of different concepts hitting the market as well. An industry that seems to be evolving at a breakneck pace, potential shared workspace members are being marketed and offered spaces that are breaking out of the traditional business center vs. coworking options. Spaces such as Cove, with locations in Washington, DC and Boston, MA which offer hourly packages and Enerspace Coworking, with locations in Chicago, IL and Palo Alto, CA which offer in space fitness classes are paving the way for offering their members more tailored options to fit their workspace needs.
One of the most intriguing custom concepts in recent years has been the collocation of childcare and coworking. California based NextSpace launched NextKids at their Potrero Hill location where they offer full-day care and developmental programming for children aged from 3-36 months. The Brooklyn Explorers Academy is modeled as a full time daycare center, offering pre-kindergarten programs with a private office space that requires bookings to be made in advanced. Many owner/operators who look into offering child care have chosen not to do so, mainly because of the overwhelming cost of outfitting a space to comply with childcare facility building codes and staffing requirements.
This is where Play, Work or Dash, a new concept launching in Tysons Corner, VA just outside the Nation’s Capital, is different. The space is owned by Nicole Dash, an independent marketing consultant whose first business 10 years ago was a home-based day care and preschool. It’s this first hand experience which taught her that daycare is as much about parents as it is the children that were in her care. In growing her own businesses, in addition to being a mom and writing a blog titled Tiny Steps Mommy, she witnessed a commonality among parents who are entrepreneurs.
It was last year while working in a large scale coworking space, she realized there had to be a way to offer parents an escape from the constant tear between being committed to their businesses and sacrificing quality care for and time with their kids. She loved the benefits of working in the coworking space but struggled to make a full time membership make sense since she still had a preschool aged little one at home. There was no space that offered her and her community of parent owned small businesses a space that could provide productivity, community and childcare.
Working on a concept, she very quickly realized that opening a coworking space with full time childcare would be incredibly expensive and challenging in order to meet zoning and safety requirements mandated by both the state and county inspectors. Her solution? What she lightly calls the “Ikea Rule”, a loophole of sorts in the state’s laws that allows for childcare to be provided without all the additional requirements as long as the service is for three hours or less per child per day and the guardian is a customer of the business (i.e. Ikea and gyms).
Working amenities are quite similar to other spaces and include open desks, coffee, wifi, meeting rooms and a lounge. Child care amenities offer a supervised play option (9 months to 8 years of age) for parents who remain on site in addition to a drop-off service for children 2 years old and up. A wide variety of membership levels are available from as low as $165 a month for basic unlimited adult-only access to $796 a month which includes up to 25 three-hour child care sessions. Pay as you go options are also available for workspace and both supervised on-site play services and drop-off child care, but require pre-booking with as little as 30 minutes notice.
Play,Work or Dash’s first day of operation is January 4, 2016 and is open Monday-Friday from 8:30a-5:30p. Soon to come options for Saturdays will be professional development events for parents while their play area will soon be available to be rented for birthday parties and the like.