Parents Co-Working creates a co-working centre for parents
Parents Co-Working is an idea for a co-working centre that combines childcare and area for work to give parents the opportunity to work during or after parental leave without them having to stay away from their little child. “Many parents feel they have to make a choice between a child and a career; they do not have a good opportunity to combine the two roles,” said Elise Nikonov, one of the three originators of the idea.
When asked why a parent should want to work while being at home with their child, Elise responds that there are several reasons for this: the desire not to be away from work for long, the desire to pursue a project, a new business, or other creative activity.
“Many parents feel that just when they are able to engage in out-of-home self-fulfilment in addition to raising a child, they get the strength to be a happy, dedicated parent,” she says, adding that many home parents often feel lonely. In order for parents to be able to concentrate on their work even just for a couple of hours a day, or to work with others while being at home with their child, they are offering a solution that has not yet been done in Estonia, combining childcare and a place to work together.
All the team members – Elise Nikonov, Minna Toots, and Georgia Cavalcanti Maripuu – are parents themselves, and the idea came from their personal need and desire to do something about it in society. However, possibilities for that are limited, says Elisa. “If you want to do focus on something on your computer for a couple of hours, it’s hard when you have a little child,” she explains.
Elise Nikonov answers the questions.
Who needs it?
Parents Co-Working is the ideal solution for people staying at home who want to concentrate on work or self-fulfilment while raising their child. One of our target groups is freelance and self-employed people who do not have their own office, and for whom the home or cafe is not a suitable work environment.
Similarly, in the future, employers could allow working in our premises. This is a particularly good option if you return to work during your parental leave. There are very few companies that have their own childcare. And if they do, they often have an age limit of 1.5 years or more.
Why not do it from home? Telecommuting is increasingly fashionable.
For some people, working from home is a good solution. Many parents we’ve talked to cannot, because there may be disturbing factors at home. Even if the child is being cared for by a babysitter, most do not have a soundproof home office. In addition, finding the right babysitter at the right time is often a difficult task in itself. We want to give parents as much flexibility as possible to combine the needs of work, communicating and looking after their child so that they can all be met as well as possible.
Has anything like this been done in the world? If so, how do you do better?
There are none in Estonia. Elsewhere in the world, such solutions are completely available. Many of them have also been extensively written about in publications, pointing out that it is a new trend of co-working.
How far is your idea now?
Our idea was born about a week before the deadline of the Brain Hunt. Although we saw our idea as having a positive social impact and rather as a public or NGO venture, we came to the idea that it could work well as a business. We have already benefited greatly from Brain Hunt preparation and training. They have driven us to actively and vigorously move forward. From January, we want to get to the first tests and dedicate ourselves fully to Parents Co-Working.
Who is on your team?
There are three of us on the team. I have long experience in the public sector. For more than six years, I worked in the Ministry of Social Affairs as a policymaker on all sorts of issues related to children’s rights and well-being. Minna has been involved in a number of civil society initiatives. She has founded the Estonian Vegan Society, led the Teometer and worked for the Let’s drink less by half! movement. In addition, our team includes Georgia from Brazil, who brings us experience and background from the private sector.
What do you need most now?
We are starting to test the idea, and we want to validate our ideas, not only with parents but also with employers, to explore their willingness to use our service to support their employees. We have a lot of knowledge in the field of children and parenting, but there is no experience in launching a start-up. That’s why we came to Brain Hunt to see how we could do it. How to make business choices and how much risk to take at first.
Have you set goals for yourself also at Brain Hunt? Where would you like to go in a few months?
For the prize money for the Brain Hunt, we could set up the first location (laughs).
We take it one day at a time. We have a slight perception that super calculable ideas are considered attractive in the start-up landscape. We would like to break this mindset a bit and show that the overriding goal does not have to be to grow quickly into big and global. We have thought from the beginning that we really want to make people’s lives better, and one of the best ways to make our society stronger is to invest in the well-being of parents and children.
What we want to offer could be a win-win-win solution for both the child, the parent, and the employer, both in substance and in financial terms. We believe that looking back in a few years’ time, people will wonder how we ever managed without such a solution.
You can find more information about Parents Co-Working on their website.