When I had my first-born, Kyan, I left working full-time as a palliative care doctor doing 12-hour shifts. When I went back to work, I ended up seeing my baby for only half-an-hour each day. I wanted to spend the precious first few years of my child’s life with him– but I quickly learnt, being a stay-at-home-mum was not for me. I still had the desire to work and contribute and be an entrepreneur with a purpose. I realised we are truly living in a different kind of world now where individuals can reap the benefits of technology though remote working. I imagined a space with a supportive community, which could benefit both parents and kids—that’s how the concept of Trehaus was born. It was something I was seeking and couldn’t find in the co-working community.
We understand how important it is to be present for the early formative years of your child’s life. Research has shown how much children benefit from this in terms of being resilient, more secure and confident as adults. You don’t want to be stuck behind a desk and see your child for a short period at the end of your day. The struggle to juggle is real. My co-founders and I experienced this personally as we entered the early parenthood years. Then, there is the guilt factor of leaving your children with a care-giver for long periods of time and missing those milestone moments. We thought it was time to create a solution through a space that would facilitate both sides of the challenge. We have created a state-of-the-art office with top-notch corporate level facilities attached to the crèche to give parents the opportunity to work and be with their children.
We don’t live in extended families or “kampung” (village) like environments anymore. Trehaus is not just an enclave – we have built it with the long-term vision in mind to nurture kids for the future. Our enrichment programmes and language play groups are carefully selected to enhance learning through play. I am a strong believer in teaching kids a second language in early years and research has indicated that it is best for them to learn in a natural way before 3-years-old. This is a crucial time to expose children to a second language.
We are not just a place for ‘mummy’preneurs– we are also very Dad-friendly and have several fathers who work out of our community. It is for any parent who wants to be actively and closely involved in the early years of their child’s life, while pursuing their professional or entrepreneurial goals.
We founded Trehaus to create social change, shift mindsets and meet the needs of this whole generation of working parents who know it is possible to have a successful career while making family a priority. Our space is a community where we have thoughtfully blended public and private spaces—there is the Reggio Emilia inspired atelier for kids, Commons for interacting with members over a cup of coffee and a quiet no-kids zone to get some solid work done. We also have private offices that can hold up to 4 people for a small business or startup.
My goal is to empower parents of young children and give them the choice to choose how to structure their work day, while having their children by their side. All this can be done while giving them autonomy to be productive and have continuity in their work lives during this life changing and sometimes overwhelming period.
We ourselves run Trehaus with a culture of inclusion with passionate, talented individuals at the helm. Our environment is flexible, purposeful and open. We regularly share member profiles and encourage them to hold casual lunch and learn sessions to gain exposure and collaborate within the community.
The Future of Work
As even established corporations change the way they work and operate, we live in a very different model to the traditional hierarchy-based office environment and closer to the way co-working spaces operate. Think minimum barriers between people, so teams and departments can work together to be creative and be inspired by the diversity of perspectives within an organization.
The government of Singapore has recognised the need to encourage innovative and flexible work arrangements through the establishment of the Work-Life Grant. This grant provides funding and incentives for companies to offer flexible work arrangements to employees, with the aim of helping them better manage work and family responsibilities.
According to a report by Cushman & Wakefield and CoreNet Global, the Asia-Pacific region will likely see a rise in flexible working environments as the demand for co-working spaces grows at an average of 10-15 percent per annum. As offices in prime central business district areas in the region remain steep, the co-working space option is more economical for companies that don’t want to deal with the time-consuming hassle and cost of setting up an office from scratch themselves. Short-term rental options offered by co-working spaces also allow start-ups to be prepared for unexpected turns in their business.
We now live in a sharing economy where ownership of certain things are not necessary—office space, vehicles and homes, just to name a few big-ticket items. Even the skills of people can be shared, thanks to technology and an increase in worker mobility, so companies can leverage on the gig-economy and reap from the benefits of highly skilled talent who work for many companies simultaneously in these shared spaces.
Whether you are part of a corporation, freelancer, ‘solo’preneur or an entrepreneur with a small team, Trehaus offers you a centrally-located space in Smart Singapore to not just work, but thrive as you meet intelligent, driven and like-minded people. You may find you are growing through this positive, community-like atmosphere and are relaxed because you can check-in on your kids when you desire or need to.
If you are looking for a place that stands on the principle of work-life harmony, Trehaus will facilitate and help transform the way work, parenthood and family come together. Join me for this amazing journey as we re-imagine the way parents and children co-exist, work and play harmoniously. We are growing and building our brand to expand the business and go global.