Any parent who has tried to balance working from home with children around knows it’s just about impossible to get anything done. That’s what inspired Naomi Rasmussen—who previously worked in development for Democracy International—to create Workafrolic, a coworking space that offers onsite child care for kids ages four weeks to six years old. “There isn’t a day that has gone by since my son was born that I didn’t wish this existed,” she says.
The converted three-story, 3,200-square-foot row house at 1707 North Capitol Street, NE in Eckington is set to open in early to mid-February. Rasmussen chose the location because of its decidedly non-commercial sensibility. “I didn’t want it to feel like you’re going to the dentist,” she says. “This feels like a home.”
The top floor is a child-free work zone packed with tables, couches, and benches. Two private call boxes are being built, and there will be a printer-scanner-copier. Complimentary coffee and tea will be on hand, so parents don’t have to go down to the second-floor kitchen to caffeinate—that’s where the nursery for child care is. The well-lit space is stocked with wooden toys, a kitchen play set, and a table for crafts. For the after-school crowd, there will be separate afternoon sessions geared to four- to six-year-olds, which will focus on music, art, and other activities.
Parents will need to sign up for child care on Workafrolic’s website at least 24 hours in advance, and slots are on a first-come, first-served basis (ultimately, there will be an app as well). Memberships range from $400 to $1,820 a month, depending on level of child care, or parents can pay for drop-in sessions. (To note: Memberships and drop-ins for the coworking space are available without the child care component.) Kids can be under care for three hours at a time; after that, parents must take responsibility for their child for a minimum of 30 minutes, though they don’t need to leave the premises. However, if parents need a break to, say, pick up another child from school, or go to a doctor appointment, they can leave the facility for a maximum of two hours per day, while leaving their child in Workafrolic’s care. Though child care is available from 8am to 7pm on weekdays and 10am to 7pm on weekends, the facility is open 24 hours for its adult members.
Additionally, the first floor of Workafrolic is a multipurpose room, which will feature exercise classes for adults such as yoga and martial arts. When classes aren’t in session, children will be able to use it as an additional play space. “The larger idea is to create a community,” says Rasmussen.