Childcare comes to one coworking space, so why not everywhere?

When you have a child, it changes all your priorities. Whether you’re in a corporate job or working on building your own small business, family has to come first. But how? Childcare is enormously expensive.

Here’s one idea: affordable childcare on the premises. The Women’s Business Incubator in Seattle is a coworking space offering on-site childcare with a “flexible, drop-in preschool.”

Eva Monsen, Board President and Founding Board Member of the nonprofit and Data Engineering Consultant, talked about the non-profit company designed for parents in an interview with Medium.

A space for work, a space for play

The Women’s Business Incubator can still help parents get ahead professionally— it offers “monthly networking events and business workshops,” Monsen told Medium.

The company “will provide a productive office environment, mentorship, community building, access to internet and training,” and aims to “provide sliding scale memberships as well as provide much needed microloans for small businesses to get started – increasing the number of opportunities for businesses and start-ups across a broad economic range,” according to its website.

So what about the kids? Childcare is right on site. The preschool is for children between the ages of two and a half to five years old.

The business also has a variety of price plans, including a “CoWork/CoPlay” option, which provides “unlimited community coworking with parent-supervised play for infants and toddlers 0 – 2.5 years old,” according to the website.

Attention, working fathers: you haven’t been forgotten. Even though it’s called the Women’s Business Incubator, but both moms and dads are welcome.

Work + on-site childcare = relatively uncharted territory

Although the Women’s Business Incubator was designed to provide enormous flexibility for working parents, the fact that this is considered revolutionary reveals a large void in the working world— this clearly isn’t the norm.

“Ultimately, I want to see coworking and childcare become as common a childcare option as daycare centers and nannies. People will wonder how we ever got along without it,” Monsen told Medium.

But in a world where many businesses don’t offer childcare services on workplace grounds, at least one has become known for doing so: Patagonia, the maker of outdoor wear.

Bloomberg reported in 2016 that “on any given workday,” outdoor clothing and gear company Patagonia has up to 85 children at its headquarters in Ventura, California, and that the company has “on-site day care and after-school programs for kids up to 8 years old for its 550 employees.”

Patagonia stands out because it’s uncommon.

Bloomberg also  cited a Society for Human Resources survey that showed that only 3% of organizations offer unsubsidized daycare — which is actually down from 1996, when 9% of organizations provided those services.

Goldman Sachs reportedly opened on-site nursery facilities in London, Tokyo and New York, according to The Guardian in 2016.

Will there be more coming? Only companies can decide that, though there is ample evidence that family-friendly policies act as a powerful recruiting tool.