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The Danforth community is now home to The Workaround, a parent-and-child-friendly co-working space right next to Woodbine station. The holy grail for new parents, this shared workspace offers on-site, licensed child care. While children play and learn in a structured environment, their parents work in the multifunctional space just steps away.
In addition to bottomless coffee, the 8,000 square feet of space provides drop-in desks for its clients, along with lounge spaces, meeting rooms, a lactation suite and a kitchen with ample freezer space, a meditation room, a podcast suite, and a stroller-friendly lobby. There’s even a pull-out couch for a quick snooze.
The Workaround is the brainchild of Amanda Munday, a tech professional who, after 15 successful years working in the industry and two maternity leaves, found child care in Toronto to be inaccessible and unaffordable—even for those with expendable income. “I was told when I was pregnant to get my children on waitlists before they were even born,” she says on a CTV News segment about daycare shortages in Toronto. “My son still hasn’t been accepted to a child care centre, and he’s two years old.”
After each maternity leave, Munday returned to work and negotiated a reduced salary to accommodate a more flexible schedule. But even with added flexibility, she failed to strike the work-life balance she needed. She tells CTV News anchor Angie Seth:
I got no work done when I tried to work at home….When you try to work from home, what happens is, my children are climbing over my shoulders [and] I end up playing and distracting my children all day, and then really getting some work done early in the morning or much later when they go to bed after 8:30 at night. So that means that in terms of rest, recovery, a personal life—all of those things suffered, because working from home with children is really hard.
Munday’s story illustrates an undeniable reality: to this day, childcare duties fall overwhelmingly on mothers. According to Statistics Canada, fewer than 15 percent of men take parental leave. Women’s careers, and the family income, often suffer as a result.
The Workaround acknowledges the current struggles of young parents in Toronto, its lactation and nursing facilities a firm nod to overburdened and under-served moms in particular. It is a space that takes into account the diverse needs of freelancers and entrepreneurs, of traditionally employed parents who aren’t quite ready to give their children over to full-time care, of LGBTQ+ parents who need someplace safe, reliable, and judgement-free, and of parents who just need to get escape the house and enjoy endless cups of coffee.
While this beautiful east-end co-working space focuses on aiding young parents, it welcomes anyone who seeks an alternative space to work. The Workaround offers an alternative model that recognizes individuals’ diverse professional needs.
2080 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, ON M4C 1J9
Image from The Workaround—no copyright infringement intended
Aya Bara is a writer and former tennis player who wishes weekends were four days long and the daily recommended sleep quota was 12 hours. Her partner sincerely believes she was meant to be a cat.