18 Jul A coworking space with a difference in the heart of Granada
Pame Cepeda has lived in Granada for 9 years. She’s Chilean and studied Oceanic Civil Engineering in Chile before coming to the University of Granada to do a Masters Degree. She fell in love with a local who is now her husband. With the birth of her first child she dedicated herself to the joys of motherhood. When it was time to return to work she decided she also wanted that happiness in her professional life; it was time to reinvent herself professionally.
When and why did you decide to set up CoFamily Coworking?
It all started when I became a mother with my first daughter. Motherhood brings a lot of creativity to women, empathy and a lot of desire to connect with other people, especially with other mothers. I wanted to start a business but realised it wasn’t really feasible with such a small baby because she needed a lot of time from me. So during those early months I dedicated myself to research, to study, to look for what I wanted to do.
I soon realised that there was not a space where I could dedicate myself to researching about business and at the same time be calm with my daughter. Where would I connect to the internet and at the same time be with my daughter? So the solution was right there: a space where mothers and their children were welcome.
Over time, the business idea was transformed into a family-friendly coworking, a coworking with care for the children of the coworkers. I discovered that the benefits of a coworking space are the same for mothers or fathers: work flexibility, tranquility, community, synergies …… This is how CoFamily Coworking was born!
And exactly two years later, in September 2016, I opened CoFamily Coworking.
What services do you offer?
It was clear that the mission of CoFamily was to make work-family conciliation possible, a topic that in Spain is very much in the forefront lately. It is a social concern where families demand to spend more time with their children, where the father is required to take a more active role, and where mothers also want to grow professionally.
So our star service is a coworking for professional mothers, fathers and freelancers where they can come to CoFamily in the morning with their children, and leave them in the Cobaby space, where they will be cared for by two educators. In this way parents can work throughout the day close by to their children.
How does Cobaby differ from a guardería?
In Spain there is the idea that day care is to “save” children. The number of children per educator is usually high, and therefore there is almost no personal attention given to individuals. These two characteristics do not occur in our CoBaby, because in our space we make sure that each child has their own adaptation time, and the amount of attention they need from the educators.
The big difference is that there is no sudden or traumatic separation for children and parents as there often is when they enter nursery school. In CoFamily, since the two spaces are under the same roof, the process of separation is more gradual and conscious because the little ones know that their parents are there, and in turn the parents can see their children and be active in their day. Parents can go to see their children, participate in mealtimes, simply give them a hug or a kiss and mothers can continue to breastfeed.
In CoFamily there is no fixed schedule of entry and exit as in day care centres. So here families have flexibility, greater tranquility and respect for their own time.
You offer a summer school for children from 4-8 years. Can you give us some information about that?
CoFamily offers the coworking + cobaby service only for mothers and fathers with children between 6 months to 3 years. Families with older children do not have the same problems because they are already in school. But it is during school holidays when the situation is complicated for parents who need to continue working. So in July we have the opportunity to open CoFamily to new families with older children.
This year will be dedicated to working on emotions. While the mothers and fathers work, their children will be in a morning workshop run by a child psychologist and positive discipline facilitator, where all activities will be focused on learning to recognize emotions and understand them. All with playful activities such as painting, reading and coexistence.
Do you offer any other types of events or workshops?
From the beginning CoFamily has been a space for meetings and events that are always related to maternal entrepreneurship or activities for families. Throughout the year we offer workshops focused on learning for both families and children.
In 2016, we invited to our #SaturdayCoffee CEO’s of digital companies started by mothers: projects that were born from motherhood. We like to make visible the good ideas that are born from these experiences, as was CoFamily Coworking.
We take every opportunity to help and encourage the enterprises of our local coworkers. We have also formed a group called “Un círculo maternal” where mothers can meet and talk about all aspects fo parenting.
CoFamily Coworking is the first such space for working mums and dads in Granada. How have parents reacted to this new concept?
Granada is growing with projects that increasingly think of families. There has been a positive reaction to my business which has a cosmopolitan edge. Parents see the opportunities CoFamily offers, including meeting other likeminded parents and enables them to form their own communities.
Has this new space attracted foreign parents as well as Spanish families?
Definitely! Granada is known for being a very attractive city for foreign families. It has mountains, sea and snow. It is a very nice city, small, very accessible economically, with an important cultural aspect, and there are always many activities for children and families.
What happens when we do not live in our home country, when we are foreigners away from home, is that we do not have extended family that can help us with our own families. So CoFamily is very helpful.
We already have foreign families using our space, and every year this number slowly grows. CoFamily is attractive because different cultures and languages coexist there.
Describe CoFamily Coworking in 3 words.
And finally, what do you love about living in Granada?
When I arrived here I fell in love with Granada. It is a quiet city, very safe and small enough to walk around. Culturally the city is impressive and of course it has the Alhambra!