How do you balance freelancing, starting a business or flexible work with a baby or toddler? We spent the day with a two-year-old in tow, hot-desking at Trehaus: Singapore’s first family-friendly co-working space with child minding.
Working when you’re caring for your baby or toddler seems an impossible mix, and any parent who’s done this from home will attest that getting the job done is a struggle. Hands up whose most productive hours are late at night, after everyone’s asleep? Co-working spaces have become the go-to for freelancers, entrepreneurs and professionals on-the-go, but hallelujah, this is what we’ve been waiting for: a swish co-working set-up with child minding and learning facilities. Welcome to Trehaus.
I’m writing this perched high on a bench in one of Trehaus’ chilled-out, sun-drenched working spaces, sipping a coffee and watching my toddler at play while I tackle my work. Out of the corner of my eye I see him happily joining other little ones making healthy morning snacks, under the supervision of some of the sweetest and most switched-on child carers I’ve met. There’s a dad beside me wearing his tiny baby in a carrier while he taps away at his laptop, and another mum who joins her daughter at play for a while before she meets some clients in one of the private meeting rooms at Trehaus.
It’s a beautiful space, created with everything you could hope for: work areas with different levels of privacy depending on whether you want to mingle or enjoy uninterrupted time; private offices for meetings or calls; a sunny deck to do some socialising; and a kitchenette stocked with drinks and snacks. You’ll easily find it in Claymore Connect, a sparkling lifestyle location on Orchard with damn good coffee downstairs.
But it fulfills a need that’s much more than a cool, co-working locale. There are things parents who freelance, work from home or are building a startup on their own crave: having somebody entertain the kids so you can work for intervals longer than 10 minutes at a time; talking to other adults throughout the day; getting a change of scenery; networking and brainstorming with like-minded people; even getting a great coffee on the way to work or having lunch out. Some of this may seem trivial, but they can mean the difference between feeling connected, competent and fired up about your work, or feeling isolated or fighting an uphill battle.
It’s a battle the founders of Trehaus fully understand: Rachel Teo, Elizabeth Wu, Elaine Kim and Tjin Lee are all accomplished women and mothers with diverse backgrounds in marketing, education, medicine and events, publicity and communications. They know the juggle. Their vision is to help parents continue to achieve something for themselves while taking care of young children.
Trehaus takes a Reggio Emilia-inspired approach to its child minding and learning programs, and I watched the little ones truly engaged: my son enjoyed singing and playing instruments, storytelling and simply exploring the amazing play space with just the right guidance. There was painting, sensory play and experimenting with shadows by arranging shapes on a projector, all before lunchtime.
They play, you work, and can keep your little ones close. This could be a game-changer, folks.
Trehaus, Claymore Connect, 442 Orchard Road, #03-01, Singapore 238879; www.trehauscowork.com