Allison and I are seated at a large communal table on the upper floor of the Roncesvalles coworking space Working Ensemble. The owner, Diane Chevalard, makes sure we get connected to the wifi and offers us a fresh cup of coffee as we pull out our laptops and settle in to get some work done for the next few hours. She bounces her seven month old Charlie on one hip. He beams up at us with his big blue eyes and smiles a toothless grin.
Diane runs her business out of her home and what makes this coworking space unique is that it offers childcare on site. Parents can get a few hours of work done in the shared space upstairs, knowing their little ones are being entertained and well-cared for on the main floor play area by one of Working Ensemble’s childcare providers.
Diane started Working Ensemble in July 2016, when her oldest son Liam was an infant. Trained as a software developer, she wanted to upgrade her skills and was looking for a space where she could focus on her coursework while not being too far away from her son. After realizing what she was looking for didn’t exist in Toronto, she started Working Ensemble focusing on parents of infants and preschool aged children.
When asked what she loves most about her work, Diane explains, “I love the impact that I have on the parents who use my service. Moms are so grateful to be able to get some work done and not have to worry about finding a babysitter.”
Her future plan is to open more Working Ensemble spaces around the GTA – and in other cities as well, though creative partnerships with entrepreneurial parents interested in becoming a hub for working parents in their community.
Working Ensemble is a gold sponsor for MotherWorks upcoming conference OwningIt: Making Self Employment Work For You (April 16, 2019). Conference attendees will be entered into a draw to win a gift certificate for a package of four half-days to the child-friendly coworking space.