If co-working spaces are your jam pre-baby, you definitely will want to do a little detective work to figure out if it will continue to work for you with a baby in tow. Here’s some key questions to help guide the way.
1. Can I bring my newborn?
Yup, let’s start with the simple stuff. Find out if they have any (written or unwritten) policies about bringing brand new humans, who, for the most part, will be sleeping (or eating). If they seem all “uhhh I guess so” about it, you might be breaking new ground.
Do some sleuthing about how appropriate the space will be for a little one that will need pretty regular diaper changes (where will you change them?), may have some crying spells (can you easily slip outside of the main working space to calm them down?), or just need to be bounced/walking around (long hallways are golden).
2. Do you have on site childcare?
Some co-working spaces are becoming increasingly family-friendly. While your little is a newborn, you might not be able to make use of the childcare, but it can be helpful to know whether or not this is an option you could grow into.
3. Is there a private place I can breastfeed and/or pump?
And no, a bathroom does not count. Finding out where there is a designated space where you can have some privacy. Bonus points for comfy chairs near an outlet.
4. Can I store my milk (and pumping parts) in the communal fridge?
This assumes there is a fridge of course! Even a mini-fridge can work. Being able to store pumping parts in a ziplock bag in the fridge in between uses will save you so much precious work time in between pumping sessions!
5. Can my membership rate fluctuate as my hours increase/decrease/change?
One of the perks of taking maternity leave as an entrepreneur is that you can gradually transition back to working your regular hours and experiment with what will work for you as you learn to balance business and baby. Figure out if your co-working spot is flexible in terms of how many hours per week/month you need to commit to and prepay for.
Want more resources about returning to work after leave? Check out Chapter 9 of The Expecting Entrepreneur.