Can tech help look after your kids?
Entrepreneur Charlie Rosier believes her co-working space Cuckooz Nest is the solution to parents who want to work but need childcare at the same time.
She says Cuckooz Nest is a co-working space/nursery hybrid that gives London-based freelancers and remote workers with young children the best of both worlds.
Rosier, who set up the company in 2018 as a spin-out of her existing serviced apartment business Cuckooz, told BusinessCloud: “Government subsidy for childcare comes in at age three. Maternity leave is somewhere between six months and a year, so in those early years, the cost of childcare is prohibitively expensive.
“We absolutely wouldn't have been able to do this ten or 15 years ago. Thank God for technology.
“The email which takes you four hours to do at home while keeping your eye on a baby, you can do so much faster."
Rosier considers the space a nursery first and co-working space second. It offers flexible and qualified childcare, while the workplace gives parents the opportunity to keep track of their child through app-based updates.
“It also adds an element of the community which is vital for new parents especially,” Rosier explained. “Co-working has changed the way that people work full-stop. Flexible and remote working is on the increase. Working parents are making up a larger percentage of the workforce.
“There's a movement to support women in the workforce and one of the biggest stumbling blocks is the cost of and access to flexible childcare. That infrastructure is missing at the moment.
“This is part of the solution to free up that movement and those mothers who can, and want to, return to work are held back.”
The company has taken advantage of Famly, an existing nursery management system which operates as a social media feed for the child, offering both photo and video, and general observations about the child’s progress.
It also uses existing systems to book inflexible childcare and arrange its staff members but is now considering investing in its own technology, as well as a franchise, to offer the service at scale.
“Ultimately we're exploring our own technology to bring those three or four functions into one piece of software which will make our lives a lot easier,” she said.
As the company prepares for the opening of its second London location and considers national expansion, Rosier hopes that the service and its technology will allow employers to redress the gender gap created by parenthood.
“The cost of maternity leave and losing highly skilled staff to childcare is about £125,000 per year, per employee, when you take into account training and recruitment.
“There's also the cost of not having female representation at board level. Everyone's losing out.”
The entrepreneur, whose own child uses the service, says she is able to continue running her business without missing out on milestone moments.
“I went to sit in there while my child is potty training,” Rosier said.
“The fact that you can pop in, or take them out for lunch or read them a story is something you don't get by putting your child in the nursery."