Now & Next: Coworking Space Meets Women’s Unique Needs

Women in Kind is frank about the ways workplace needs differ between men and women and addresses them head-on. 
There is no shortage of coworking spaces in the Denver metro area. In fact, the entire country has no lack of coworking spaces, with a recent report by the consulting firm CBRE stating that, in a survey of over 200 major commercial real estate organizations, 40 percent are using or considering coworking spaces.

Coworking spaces often share many common features: wifi, access to printing, common coffee bars and kitchens, events and gatherings that promote information sharing and networking.  However, often there is one key constituency that is largely ignored in the creation of these spaces: women.

While offices and buildings were built overwhelmingly by men for centuries and this trend continues, the role of women in the workplace has increased dramatically.  In the early 20th century, women made up only 20 percent of the workforce and now hover around 50 percent.  Women and men share workspaces and yet the workplace has not adapted to meet women’s unique needs.

Virginia Santy (left) and Melanie Ulle of Women in Kind.

The majority of caregiving responsibilities in the U.S. fall on the shoulders of women.  According to the National Center on Caregiving, an estimated 66 percent of caregivers are female.  Women are the primary caregivers both with aging parents later in life and with children earlier.

Women need dedicated spaces for children and an understanding from their workplace that there are teacher in-service days, half-days, and childcare crises that require accommodation.  

There are biological differences between men and women that are unavoidable and seldom discussed in the workplace.  Women require greater temperature flexibility.  The preferred temperature for men, according to a number of studies, is 70 degrees, while most women prefer 75 degrees.  Also, the plumbing in most women’s restrooms often does not accommodate biological differences like menses, and post-pregnancy lochia.

Many moms have tolerated pumping breast milk in a public bathroom or in a car due to improper accommodations in their work space.  

Women have always been asked to take these issues into their own hands and now female entrepreneurs are challenging those long-held assumptions.

Women in Kind, a new coworking space in Denver, flips this premise on its head. Rather than asking women to “figure it out,” the founders work to identify, and anticipate what women need to be successful at work and integrate those things into the workplace. That means thinking about how to make women’s lives easier, to remove challenges and obstacles in their path to professional success.

With the help of female architects Beata Chudobinska and Karlin Vaessen, partners at NEO Studio, the space was mindfully designed to put women’s needs first.

Women in Kind opened in August and joins the Wing in New York, The Riveter in Seattle, and several other women’s coworking spaces throughout the country in addressing women’s unique needs.  Women in Kind is the first women-centered space in Denver and one of the only spaces that welcomes children, has dedicated play spaces and a partnership with an on-demand childcare provider, Nanno.

Denver has no shortage of coworking spaces, and Women in Kind joins a community of thoughtful entrepreneurs committed to making the city a beacon of innovation.

Women in Kind is located at 3899 Jackson Street, Denver. For inquiries or to join, check out
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