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Coworking Space with Babysitting Center Launches in Clarendon

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Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces and a stage for formal presentations.

The burgeoning coworking trend in Arlington commercial real estate has a new wrinkle: child care.

CoWork CoPlay launched last month, founded by the owner of Saffron Dance, adjacent to her belly-dancing studio at 3260 Wilson Blvd in Clarendon. The venture combines flexible coworking office space with an on-demand babysitting service, where parents can leave their children for up to four hours and hold business meetings, get work done or run errands.

CoWork interior shot (courtesy CoWork CoPlay)“While parents are not required to bring their kids while they are coworking and customers don’t have to be a parent to cowork, the close proximity of on premises childcare responds to one of the most common challenges facing families in today’s society — affordable childcare,” the company said.

CoWork CoPlay operates as a coworking space from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Childcare is also available during those times, except on Wednesday mornings. Childcare is available for two hour slots (8-10 a.m., 10 a.m. to noon, 1-3 p.m. and 3-5 p.m.) and parents can sign their children up for two time periods per day. On Wednesdays, childcare is available from 1-5 p.m.

“What parents really need are expansive options throughout the week to get work done and the flexibility to leave the premises while their children are safely playing and learning,” said founder Rachael Galoob-Ortega, who also goes by stage name “Saphira.”

CoWork CoPlay offers four pricing packages, which includes pricing for each space or using both. Parents can reserve the spaces online, but childcare reservations must be made 12 hours in advance.

CoWork interior shot (courtesy CoWork CoPlay)Up to 20 working parents at a time can work in the 1,000 square foot space that makes up the coworking area. It’s equipped with WiFi and patrons are given headphones with microphones to allow for Google chats and Skype meetings. There is also a telephone room for calls.

“It definitely doesn’t have a corporate feel,” Galoob-Ortega said. “It has a more organic feel because we designed it.”

Parents can leave their children in an adjacent room where P&E Babysitting, a local company, watches the kids. The room can accommodate 12 children, from 18 months to six years old. Parents can leave children for up to four hours while they take meetings outside of the building or run errands, provided the children are potty trained and at least two years old.

The coworking space with on demand babysitting should allow parents to feel that they are letting their child have independence and develop maturity while still maintaining the deep bond between a parent and child, Galoob-Ortega said.

CoWork interior shot (courtesy CoWork CoPlay)Galoob-Ortega works to make the business client-centric and said she believes the client should always come first. She knows all of the clients’ and children’s names as well as their coffee preferences.

The new space was created with her own experience in mind, Galoob-Ortega said. She started Saffron Dance when her son was a baby and the lack of childcare options for entrepreneurs made starting the dance studio difficult.

“Doing it with a child and no childcare was my miracle,” she said.

CoWork interior shot (courtesy CoWork CoPlay)So when Galoob-Ortega thought about starting a new business, she wanted to create something with meaning and that could help other parents balance a work life and parenting.

“If you are a parent, your parenting is interrupting your work and your work is interrupting your parenting,” she said.

Her own experience helped her create the space, and if she had a space like CoWork CoPlay when creating Saffron Dance, she would have had more peace of mind.

“I think it would have allowed me to control the emotional complexities of being a business owner and a parent,” she said.

Photos courtesy of CoWork CoPlay / Rachael “Saphira” Galoob-Ortega.

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