Our attitudes to parenthood and work are, fortunately, finally changing: paternity leave is still insufficiently long in most cases, but it exists, and childcare is no longer automatically the sole responsibility of new mothers.
What has been very slow to pick up on these societal shifts is the traditional office environment; in fact, what prevents many new mothers (and some fathers) going back to work is the impracticality of paying (often exorbitant) childcare costs, which sometimes make working not worth it financially.
And this, in turn can lead to isolation and loneliness often experienced by stay-at-home parents who are used to the sociability of the workplace. Thus a recent poll conducted by ComRes for BBC 5 Live reveals that as many as 47 per cent of new mothers feel lonely while on maternity leave.
A new London-based nursery with integrated office space is offering an ingenious solution. Cuckooz Nest provides an exceptional workspace by award-winning designer Leo Wood and an Ofsted registered nursery for children ages 0 to two in the heart of Farringdon. Founded by entrepreneurs Charlie Rosier (above left) and Fabienne O’Neill (above right), the Cuckooz Nest concept grew out of Charlie's personal experience – she struggled to find affordable and flexible childcare when she returned to work.
And, in a city where one in seven freelancers are working parents, she was not alone. Charlie and Fabienne decided to use their business experience (in investment and property management) to offer a solution.
Charlie comments, 'Maternity leave is far from the blissful holiday that many believe or expect it to be and as this latest poll shows, it can be a struggle for the many parents catapulted away from their regular busy lives into what can be a lonely and isolated environment.
'We would like to see a change that facilitates the needs of both parents and enables them to return to work at their own pace, while ensuring they have access to the childcare they need. Cuckooz Nest is a solution that combines the need to return to work and the availability of childcare in one and we strongly believe this will become a key feature that employees look for when seeking employment in the future.
'This isn’t just a ‘mum thing’. The Cuckooz Nest philosophy is that both mums and dads are welcome in their co-working spaces – parenting is surely a shared responsibility.'