Co-working spaces expand, many now make room for kids, dogs and more

February 17
At Sprout, Tracy Yeager, left, reads to kids while their parents get some work done. (Jason Hornick/For Express)
At Sprout, Tracy Yeager, left, reads to kids while their parents get some work done. (Jason Hornick/For Express)

These days, wired workers don’t have to be tethered to an old-school cubicle desk. Many of them are flocking to coworking spaces — shared offices where you pay for only the time you use. As the number of coworking spaces grows, so does the variety. In the Washington area, you’ll find lots of shared office spaces that cater to particular types of professionals.

A Work/Play Date

At Sprout Co-Work Co-Play Studio (3260 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-276-2355), there’s a space for kids to play or take classes while parents work.

Launched as a coworking space in 2012 by mom and former attorney Rachael Galoob Ortega, now an entrepreneur, belly dancer and dance teacher professionally known as Saphira.

The dance/yoga studio has coworking lounges with free Wi-Fi and printing, a conference room, a cafe and private “repose suites” with day beds for parents to relax on (because parents need afternoon naps, too!).

Supervised playtime is available to kids between 18 months and 4 years old, while 3- to 8-year-olds can partake in a variety of classes. Sprout is a license-exempt daycare, which means parents have to stay on the premises while the kids are there.

“We created it because I didn’t have it [when I had kids],” Ortega says. “Everyone who comes in is like ‘you had me at the nap room.’ ”

Rates vary depending on what services parents want. A weekly spot in a two-hour supervised playtime for one child costs $85 a month.

For Dog Lovers

If you can bring your kids to work, it seems only fair that you be able to bring your dog, too. Canvas Cowork (1203 19th St. NW; 202-556-1203), a loft-like space in Dupont Circle, caters to creative types like Web designers and developers. And to their dogs.

“It’s a natural disruption that we kind of like,” co-founder Martin Ringlein says of having four-legged friends in the office.

Ringlein, a Web designer himself, says coworking is about more than just having a place to sit. At Canvas, people often support and collaborate with others they meet in the space.

“We know what happens when you get the right people in the right environment,” Ringlein says. “That’s where you start to see the magic.”

Ringlein cautions that Canvas isn’t for everyone. Because there are no private offices, it’s not great for people who make a lot of phone calls or deal with customers all day. Rates range from $30 a day for basic access to $600 a month for 24/7 access, a dedicated desk, a mailing address and other perks.

Novelists Welcome

Working on the next Great American Novel? Writers Room DC in Tenleytown (4000 Albemarle St. NW) offers workspaces to fiction and non-fiction writers, including journalists, with 18 workstations, 24/7 access — so you can pull an all-nighter on that thesis — and free coffee.

Co-founders Charles Karelis, a writer and former academic, and his son Alexander Karelis, a novelist, say bringing writers together creates a sort of positive peer pressure.

“We’ve found that if there are a whole lot of writers in a room, they’re more productive — as long as they can’t see each other,” Alexander Karelis says.

None of the workstations face each other in the small space, so writers can capitalize on each other’s collective energy without getting too distracted.

Writers Room DC costs $130 a month for a six-month membership and $150 a month for three months. The incentives to stay long-term engenders a sense of community, Charles Karelis says, and means less time spent on paperwork for those who just want to use the space for an hour or two.

Nicer Than a Lobby

If you do need a workspace for only a few hours, the “touchdown” spots at Carr Workplaces (multiple locations; 866-436-9214 ) may fit the bill. They look a lot like the carrel desks from your college library, says chief marketing officer Susan Lavington.

At Carr, these can be reserved for the day or just a couple hours. “In our Capitol Hill location, we have touchdown spots for [people like] lobbyists who could just be in for the day.”

Other options include short- and long-term offices and conference rooms, which are roomier than the carrels and vary across Carr Workplaces’ 18 metro-area locations. These high-end workspaces offer a little extra in the way of concierge and administrative services, Lavington says.

At the Capitol Hill location (300 New Jersey Ave. NW; 202-469-3400), a carrel workspace is $50 a day.

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