Returning to work after maternity leave isn’t easy. Hearing that your previous employer has gone into liquidation two weeks before you’re due to return to work is even less ideal.
But everything happens for a reason. And for the time being, freelancing seems to be a great solution, enabling me to work on interesting projects, bring some money in and still have time to fold the socks and be at home to administer Calpol when necessary. My life has been made radically easier by the new V22 Workspace Creche where we work hard / play hard here in Dalston.
Set-up by the V22 Foundation, the not-for-profit organisation aims to provide a space for artists, freelancers and entrepreneurs who are also parents, to work alongside a crèche facility for their children.
“What we are creating, in partnership with our parents and carers, is an ethos of co‐caring for our children in an environment built on a child‐centered approach to daily routines which celebrates the importance of play,” says the website.
I’ve long been arguing for more spaces like this. Slowly they are starting to pop-up across the capital, there’s one in Kings Cross a fancy tech style one (complete with meditation yurt) and across the channel CoworkCrèche in Paris is effortlessly cool.
Radical forward-thinking companies like Patagonia are already doing it internally. And they are improving employee retention by providing these sorts of facilities. For those of us without an employer to speak of, organisations like V22 are a godsend. When my friends who work for big agencies humble-brag about getting up at 5am for nursery drop-off and a commute to work, I turn over in bed enjoy the extra 2 hrs and sleep and smile because only having to get to one place in the morning is a real life dream.
The workspace is sparse, but I don’t really need a ping-pong table or meditation yurt in my life right now, just a desk, some coffee and a few hours to get things done. The level of childcare is fantastic. As I type I can just about hear them all pottering about next door, getting ready for their daily excursion to the Dalston Curve garden that the creche backs on to.
I’m hugely grateful to founder Tara Cranswick, the staff here and all that crowdfunded the initiative. The space is a pilot project, if successful V22 hope to integrate a creche facility into all their buildings. If the government is serious about enabling parents to get back to work I hope there will be more funds available for projects like this.
Find out more about V22
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