After going through two maternity leaves, Amanda Munday understands what it’s like to work from home with children. That’s when she learned there was a demand for a parent-friendly workspace that also offers a full play-based-curriculum daycare.
She looked at ways that parents could be an asset to the economy. On Oct. 1, Munday opened up an office space that offers entrepreneurs part-time childcare.
The name of the east-end start-up, The Workaround, comes from the idea of “working around” your kids, other parents and your challenges.
“You can work around your children with help, which [The Workaround] can [offer],” Munday said. “You can work around other parents who can amplify your work to be stronger and better.”
Munday said people often assume that because parents have to take care of young children, they’re less available for work, “which is not true.”
The Workaround is located at 2080 Danforth Ave., right outside the Woodbine subway station. It used to be a bank. Now it provides 8,200 sq. ft. of workspace and the opportunity for parents to bring their children to a morning or afternoon daycare program.
Munday said this location is important because the area east of Pape has “only enough spaces for 28 per cent of the families to access high quality, licensed care.”
Brandie Weikle, who is a editor, writer and parent spokesperson, says there is a critical shortage of good childcare, so any time a new type of daycare opens in Toronto it is a victory. “That’s awesome, because work is also changing at this time.” It is an entrepreneur’s economy.
“Some may have this romantic idea that you can still spend loads of time with your kid at home and then also still work,” she said. “With little children, that is extremely difficult, so I think that’s great that [The Workaround] has opened up — work for a few hours and work nearby [your kids]. We need way more of that kind of thing.”
The Workaround offers an open workspace, meeting rooms, a podcast room, two early registered childhood education rooms and teachers, a silence room and a WiFi-free room (located in what was the bank’s vault). You also don’t have to be a parent in order to make use of this space.
A membership to use the office space costs $318 per month. There’s an option to add children’s programming for $10 an hour.
For most entrepreneurs and work-from-home parents, the busiest time on email is after 8:30 p.m., Munday found. That’s when parents put the kids to bed and get back online.
“If we can reduce that and help them [finish work] during the day and relax in the evening,” she said, “then that’s a better quality of life for everybody.”