SINGAPORE: Singapore's first co-working space equipped with child-minding facilities officially opened on Wednesday (Feb 17).
Trehaus, which is located on Orchard Road, aims to give working parents a chance to meet like-minded people and grow their business network, while staying close to their children. Here, parents conduct their business at the Workspace and have the option of dropping their kids off at the Kids Atelier, which offers child-minding services, as well as various lessons and programmes.
Trehaus runs on a membership scheme, which starts at S$350 each month. This is comparable to rates at other working spaces in Singapore. Child minders can be hired for S$15 per hour. The facility can accommodate up to 60 working adults, as well as 30 children.
The Kids' Atelier. (Photo: Trehaus' Facebook page)
About 20 people, who include freelancers and entrepreneurs, have signed up. Among them are Ms Valerie Loh and her husband Shang Liang, who run a digital branding and web design company. The couple, who have a three-month-old baby, moved from another shared office space to Trehaus when it began operations in January.
"Whether it's a serviced office or a co-working space, there aren't really many networks here that have an environment or culture that welcomes kids," said Ms Loh. "You feel like you always have to shush your baby or creep around.
"Here, you don't have that pressure. It's a lot healthier and more open; people are generally happy that you're bringing your child around."
Trehaus co-founder Tjin Lee said the company is eyeing a bigger market: "I’d like to debunk the expectation that this is only for entrepreneurs or for people who have flexi-working or freelance options. What we’re really hoping to do is to bring this as a concept to corporates at large, and we can then really change and impact the way people work.
"If companies understand that formats like Trehaus exist, that you can work and play, and that female employees don't need to leave the workforce when they have children and know that they can find places to work that are near where their children are, then I think I can make a big difference to these companies."
"VERY CREATIVE": JOSEPHINE TEO
The co-working space is also a welcome addition as the Government moves to create more childcare options, said Senior Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Josephine Teo, who helps oversee the National Population and Talent Division.
"I think it’s quite good that the private sector is getting involved in this very creative way," said Mrs Teo. "I think what we want to do is nurture them and to encourage them to try out the concept and adapt it to different situations."
The concept could even be brought to the heartlands, she added. "But it is very early days yet. When it finds acceptance in the market, we'll see what we can do to give it a further boost."