A Perth co-working space with an upstairs crèche that allows mothers to bring their babies to work has plans to expand into the CBD to help big businesses better support working parents of young children.
The expansion plans come in the wake of a recent report by the Australian National University that found working mothers accessing traditional childcare lost up to two-thirds of their gross earnings in tax and fees.
Bubdesk co-director Meg Burrage and her business partner, Asha Stabback, came up with the idea to provide a more flexible work environment for parents in February after struggling to find flexible child care arrangements in their own lives.
The business currently has one office space in Northbridge which is used mostly by mothers with babies and toddlers who own their own businesses.
"I have a two-year-old and I just found trying to balance work and life was not working for me and I can see why so many parents burn out quite easily when they return back to work," Ms Burrage said.
"It is very difficult to balance work and life so we thought better than balancing would be to integrate it.
"We just thought it would make life so much easier for parents if they could bring their kids along to work."
Bubdesk charges around $50 a day to hire a desk space and $40 for crèche services, with clients encouraged to use the space as little or as often as they need.
Perth mother Rachel Dowdy, founder of health and wellness platform Green Goodness Co, said Bubdesk allowed her to concentrate on her business while knowing her one-year-old, Jack, was not far away.
"I started a business before I had Jack, it was great for a little while while he was a little baby having him on the floor next to me, but it's got to the stage where we need to get out of the house," she said.
"We tried him in day care once and he just cried, and we came up here and he just had the best day.
"The girls have been great. They will let me know he's ok and will run down and say 'hey, he hasn't had a sleep yet, do you want to try and get him down?'"
Ms Stabback said the supportive work model would soon be expanded to the CBD to encourage big businesses to "rent-a-desk" or purchase a corporate package for parent employees wanting to transition back into the workforce.
"We're in discussions with several large organisations that are really looking at ways to increase the level of female participation within the workforce," she said.
"They recognise that having that time away is quite disconnecting, quite isolating, so this is a way they can actually stay connected, continue on with their careers, and also for large organisations to know that they're being really proactive when it comes to supporting, particularly women in their workplace."