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Inside Singapore’s first co-working space with childcare

It allows parents to bring kids to work.

Juggling professional life and parenthood is no easy feat. Some may think career-minded parents can’t possibly achieve a decent work-life balance. But not everyone buys it. Just recently, Singapore’s world of co-working has witnessed the rise of a new workplace model: co-working with childcare.

Being a working and present parent can be challenging, and it is for this very reason that Trehaus was built. Trehaus bills itself as Singapore’s first co-working space for working parents, equipped with adjoining child-minding and learning facility.

“We offer the option of bringing your children to work at a conducive workspace, complete with child-minding assistance and play-based learning activities – so that while you build your career, your little ones can build their minds too,” said co-founder Rachel Teo.

“With Trehaus, you no longer have to choose between work and family. We want to provide the peace of mind that comes with being able to work in a flexible and enriching environment, while keeping the little ones close,” she added.

Located at Orchard Road, Trehaus spans a total area of 4000 square feet and is divided into two areas - the workspace and the Kids’ Atelier. The space is designed to enable conductive and productive work for members of the co-work space. It is also designed to enable workplace collaboration and community engagement amongst its members

“We understand the importance of being in a community with like-minded people, hence Trehaus provides the platform for networking, exchange of ideas and a conducive environment where new businesses can be formed,” said Rachel.

The workspace offer private offices, semi-private dedicated desk or co-work space. The space is also divided into adult only zones and common zones such as the pantry where parents and children co-exist in harmony.

The Kids’ Atelier is designed to maximize the potential of space and light and is flexible and adaptable. At the Kids’ Atelier, Trehaus offers programmes for the children aimed at encouraging them to imagine, discover and explore. Rachel said that the programmes are hugely inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach which values a child as capable, strong and resilient, and integrates the play-based learning approach which believes that play, learning and development are interdependent.

“[The Kid’s Atelier] is created to develop the potential, abilities and curiosity of children through exploration alone and with other children, and will feature carefully selected materials that are chosen for aesthetic, sensorial and functional qualities to help children appreciate the world through their senses,” said Rachel.

Trehaus was born out of an idea by its four co-founders. Rachel is formerly from Microsoft and has recently left her job to start Trehaus. She is a mother of one boy. Elizabeth Wu is formerly a teacher with the MOE. She is a mother of two boys and one girl. Tjin Lee is the founder and managing director of Mercury Marketing and Communication and the woman behind Singapore Fashion Week. She is a mother of two boys. Elaine Kim is a doctor, travel writer and mother of two boys.

Challenges

The concept of a family-friendly co-working space is very new in Singapore (and Asia), and in the beginning, Rachel admits that it was very challenging trying to articulate what Trehaus is and what they hope to achieve with a space like that. “While the concept was born out of need, we hope to go beyond just meeting those needs, but to achieve a bigger goal – to change the landscape for working parents, and educate the workforce (employers and employees alike) that work-life balance is definitely achievable,” she said.

The team behind Trehaus hopes to change the landscape for the working parents in Singapore by offering the real possibility of a flexible work-life arrangement. “We believe that flexible working is increasingly important to retain talented workers in the workforce and to support the growing number of entrepreneurs who needs to balance both work and family,” she said.

With Trehaus, Rachel claims that they have created an environment where quality work and family life can co-exist.

In comparison with a childcare or enrichment centre near corporate offices, Rachel claims that Trehaus is of advantage as it offers the real flexibility to be near to or even right next to your little ones while you work. “With the carefully thought out spaces at Trehaus, you have the flexibility to visit your children at the Kids’ Atelier when you are taking a short break from work or have them join you in the common zones while you work. This flexibility is something that a childcare or enrichment centre cannot provide,” she explained.

The access to a community and a network of like-minded individuals within the co- working space is also a valuable platform for the entrepreneur, freelancer or Flexi- worker who is sharing the space, she added.
 

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Inside Singapore’s first co-working space with childcare

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