Business be that big or small is now saying - sure have it, get yourself some flexible, remote working but where’s the infrastructure; where do parents head for the counterpart which is flexible childcare?
Having children is a pricey game, and to make the maths work, most of us need to work to keep life ticking over. There is some cruel irony in the fact that sometimes our childcare is more than we earn and we find ourselves actually having to pay to work - whilst we miss out on seeing our kids. As a parent you are exposed to multiple forms of financial penalty; be it exorbitant childcare fees, curtailing your hours at work, shape shifting your career or having to stop working all together when children are young.
Here’s another twisted conundrum for you, in the mad riddle that is the parenting game: Business be that big or small is now saying - sure have it, get yourself some flexible, remote working but where’s the infrastructure; where do parents head for the counterpart which is flexible childcare?
The cost of childcare for children rose by an average 3% in a year with parents now paying on average £183.56 for 25 hours a week childcare for children under two. Only 59% of Local Authorities report having enough childcare available for parents working full time, down from 68% last year, which is limiting many parents’ ability to work. It’s a mess.
At the same time new mothers choosing to take up freelance work rather than return to full -time office employment has shot up by 79% and the number of men freelancing growing by 36% in the same time frame.
Image via Peace and Riot.
So how do we, the collective parenthood, cope with keeping one foot on the career ladder and the other in our children’s lives?
One solution comes in the form of a work-life integration childcare model whereby parents and children co-exist in a work space with onsite childcare. We have seen large companies such as Google in the US offering company-funded creches, but there are still high costs associated with this, footed either by the company or the parent - and parents have to commute with baby or toddler in tow. Who wants to sit on the tube with an 18 month old and their huge space-robbing buggy at 8.30am? Not parents - and definitely not their fellow passengers.
Hybrid models can play a crucial role for all types of working parents. Allowing freelancers, part time and remote workers the flexibility they need to carry out their work and the power to flex those muscles to their full benefit on a logistical and emotional level. And if these hybrid models take off, then there’s the potential to free up places in traditional models for those professionals who need it the most - such as teachers, midwives, caregivers who have location based jobs, enabling local councils to achieve their targets and support their communities.
Peace + Riot Founder, Caroline Newte Hardie, has set up the first credits-based, ad hoc, flexible hybrid co-work and play members space in London, Caroline says “In our shared work and play space children are with their parents, never separate; their play and gradual move to independence is supported by our staff. It’s a gentler but no less effective approach; children head off to play having settled in and just come back now and then to show off their latest creation or toy. Parents get to get on with work, but also to feel more connected and present for their children. There’s no separation anxiety, there’s no guilt. There’s just space and time.”
Peace + Riot work on a credits system where one credit gives you thirty minutes of childcare and are the only credits-based ad hoc flexible same day (if needed) childcare booking system in the UK. Parents can book anything from 1 up to 6 credits at any one time and credits are available in bundles via monthly or annual memberships with a Standard membership getting you 16 credits a month from £55 a month- or in working parent terms 4 mornings or afternoons of working from home.
Or for those who mostly work remotely The Every Day, Any Day membership allows you 100 credits from £150 per month, equivalent to 16 mornings or afternoons per month as WFH days. Children who attend will be looked after by PeaceKeepers; childcare professionals with DBS & first aid trained.
Caroline says “Being part of the support network that allows parents to get back to work and be the parent they want to be and have the career they know they can achieve – with the right services behind them is integral to everything we offer.”
Peace + Riot are currently fundraising to expand the business with more and more sites. The model is about affordability, flexibility -and convenience; the more sites the more convenient we are to our customer base. Caroline says “My hope is that we can roll out our model across the U.K. applying our signature Scandi- Industrial design to each new venue, packing them full with modern, educational and sensory toys, and having an outside garden and kitchen for healthy meals. I don’t believe parents should have to downgrade their work aspirations, currently 29% of women without access to flexible work arrangements will do exactly this, I want to work harder to make sure this doesn’t continue.”