On the invitation of its marketing team, I swung by Trehaus, a new co-working space, earlier today. Trehaus is Singapore’s first and only co-working space with child-minding services and enrichment classes on premises, which is truly groundbreaking. Most Singapore families either depend on grandparents or low-wage migrant domestic workers to provide childcare, and the sector (day care, babysitter/nanny networks, informal drop-off care, in-home care, and other arrangements that I am familiar with in the U.S.) is underdeveloped, understaffed, underpaid, or nonexistent.
Trehaus’ cannot provide full-time daycare (due to industry regulations), but does provide child-minding services for children 6 months to 6 years old in their Emilia Reggio-inspired “Play Atelier,” as well as enrichment classes in art and drama. The Atelier was clean, light-filled, and well-equipped with sensory materials, and the educators was warm and highly-trained. As an educator, I admit: I was impressed.
But its Orchard Road location, while convenient I suppose, makes being a Trehaus member a tad pricey, more so than other co-working spaces that I have visited/considered. At Trehaus, access for 8 days per month—regardless of how many hours one spends working that day—is SG$350, and does not include childcare. Drop-off care in the Atelier is an additional SG$15/hour, and enrichment classes are an additional SG$30/hour. In contrast, access for one day per week or two half-days per week at Woolf Works in Joo Chiat is SG$200 per month, and unlimited (24/7) access at Work Lor in Chinatown is SG$285 per month. (Both Woolf Works and Work Lor are women-only co-working spaces; Trehaus is not, and I saw a mix of genders there this morning.)
This Mashable piece details the challenges of setting up a successful coworking space with childcare, and Trehaus’ founders seem aware of the problems that can befall such a business (especially in the Singapore family/cultural context). Trehaus caters to a niche of the co-working market, and I look forward to seeing if such a business shifts current discussions around “work/life balance” and parents in the workplace.