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Everyday is ‘bring your kids to work day' at The Workaround

In partnership with Moneris

Friday, October 22nd 2021, 6:37 am - A Brighter Day shines a spotlight on everyday heroes who are making a difference. The Weather Network has partnered with Moneris to celebrate small businesses in Canada that are making an impact towards building a better world. In this episode, we bring you the story of Amanda Munday, a small business owner who helps make the lives of working parents just a little easier.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made everyday life more challenging for parents with young children.

At the height of COVID-19, schools were temporarily closed and many parents were faced with the dilemma of juggling their professional careers while providing care for their children.

It’s an experience small business owner Amanda Munday is all too familiar with, and it's the very reason she created The Workaround, a co-working space for parents with a childcare facility onsite.

“The Workaround is a place where parents come to work and where they can bring their kids to work...whether it's one day, one day a week, a month, or five days a month, it's total flexibility for working parents,” Munday explained.

Amanda Munday, creator of The Workaround Amanda Munday, founder of The Workaround.

The Workaround, located in East York Toronto, Ont., consists of large boardrooms and office spaces, separate living areas, podcast rooms and even nursing suites for parents with newborns.

“Most parents are overwhelmed by what I created here," Munday said. "I mean, this is 13,000 square feet of office space! It used to be a bank."

"There are nap rooms for kids in the childcare room, but there is also a nap area for parents, which I still use to this day,” she added with a laugh.

The idea to create The Workaround first sparked when Amanda Munday was planning to return to work after the end of her maternity leave. The idea to create The Workaround first sparked when Amanda Munday was planning to return to work after the end of her maternity leave.

BRIGHTER DAY: Sharing inspiring stories from Canadians coast to coast

The idea to create The Workaround first sparked when Munday was planning to return to work after the end of her maternity leave.

“Returning to work, it was so frustrating,” Munday explained. “I realized childcare was going to cost me close to $25,000 a year. I can't afford to work and raise my kids. It made more sense financially to stay home.”

“Once I started looking at how much money I was going to literally light on fire in order to return to work, I thought there has to be a better way, and that's how The Workaround was born.”

The Workaround has been providing parents with accessible working offices along with affordable and separate childcare options since it first opened in 2018.

“When they hear that we're a workspace with childcare, the assumption is that there is, like, babies running around everywhere...there are no children in the professional workspace, they are completely separate by design,” Munday said.

The childcare facility run by registered early childhood educators is just next door. The centre has learning programs, activities, a lunchroom and an outdoor space for kids of all ages to play.

There are lots of fun activities for children to enjoy at The Workaround There are lots of fun activities for children to enjoy at The Workaround.

“So often the families who use The Workaround have their own reasons for coming here — whether their children have exceptionalities, severe anxiety, allergies, some form of care that's needed where they want to be close to their child, or they need flexibility in terms of scheduling. I know that has been life changing for a lot of people,” said Munday.

Along with watching children grow at The Workaround, Munday has witnessed businesses flourish under her roof.

Amy Lockwood, mother of nearly four-year-old Roger, is a prime example of a parent who has utilized The Workaround for not only her child, but also her own business. She’s been using the facility since her son was just 10-months-old.

“I heard about The Workaround when it first opened from neighbours. There were a lot of excited parents around. Roger loves it here; he walks around like he owns the place,” Lockwood laughed.

Before The Workaround opened, Lockwood was having difficulty finding a suitable daycare for her son who lives with multiple disabilities and uses American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate.

After hearing Roger’s unique needs, Munday provided her staff with the resources to learn ASL.

“For us it just felt like a miracle, right when we needed it, this place opened. It means so much to know my son is being cared for and all his needs are being met, whatever they may be.”

Along with her son growing up at The Workaround, so too did Lockwood’s professional career as a toymaker.

Amy Lockwood seen here working on her toyline, "Lockwood". Amy Lockwood seen here working on her toyline, "Lockwood".

Her toyline, Lockwood, is designed to eliminate the stigma surrounding people who live with disabilities.

Her featured toy is a wooden wheelchair, supplied to the childcare facility at The Workaround.

“My hope is for able-bodied children is that when they interact with the toy they are normalizing mobility aids, that when they see a wheelchair user they will instead see the person.”

Locked, and many other parents, are thankful that they can rely on Munday and The Workaround.

Despite being locked down three times due to the pandemic, parents, their children, and even working professionals without children keep returning when it reopens.

“So some people just buy day passes to be around other neighbors and around community members,” explained Munday.

“And we have a ton of working parents, especially marginalized genders. This is a business that's growing...I'm happy that we're here and I'm happy that we see families, babies and cute toddlers here every day.”

To learn more about The Workaround's mission, please watch the video that leads this article.

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