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Saturday, January 9, 2016

New business offers childcare and office space in one place

The lounge at Play, Work and Dash. [Photos from Play, Work and Dash]

If you work at home as a freelancer, telecommuter, or budding entrepreneur and you’ve also got young children underfoot, there’s a new place in Vienna just for you.

Play, Work or Dash, which provides shared office space and child care, opened in a townhouse business park at 8214 Courthouse Road earlier this week by Annandale resident Nicole Dash.

The play space.
The center provides work space for 25 to 30 adults with desks, work tables, printer, copier, scanner, shredder, and a kitchen area with free coffee, sodas, and snacks. There’s a conference room that can be booked separately. The child care room, stocked with toys and games, can accommodate 10 to 12 children at a time.

Dash was an in-home day care provider for 10 years. As the mother of four ages 4, 8, 10, and 16 and the founder of a parenting blog called “Tiny Steps Mommy,” she heard from many parents who were telecommuters, part-timers, or freelancers and “discovered their 2-year-old doesn’t allow them to do everything they want at home.”

She founded Play, Work or Dash to give mothers an alternative. “Either you commit to a regular schedule at a day care center, hire a nanny, or hire babysitters as needed. This is another option,” she said. It meets the needs of mothers who told her they wished they could take kids to day care just a few hours at a time.

Play, Work or Dash is “designed to feel like a second home,” Dash says, “It’s meant to feel comfortable and serene.” She compares the concept to a child care room in a gym where parents are still in the building and accessible if needed.

A quiet place to get some work done.
In any one day, Dash expects there will be 30 children coming in and out. Child care providers have passed criminal background checks and are certified in first aid. There’s a three-hour limit per day for children, as required by state regulations. Parents can leave their children there to run brief errands.

Customers can choose among a variety of membership options ranging from $165 a month for unlimited adult-only access to office space all the way up to $796 a month for unlimited adult access and up to 60 hours of child care.

There’s an introductory plan available through Jan. 31 for $109 a month. It includes nine daily passes for adult access to office space, nine hours of play for children when adults are on site, and a discount on additional adult passes. Customers can register online.

There’s nothing like Play, Work or Dash in Northern Virginia. The closest is PB and Jack in Fairfax, which is more like a combination childcare center and cafe that offers flexible scheduling and encourages parent networking. There are several Next Space/Next Kids centers with shared workspace and childcare, mostly in California, but there aren’t any in Virginia. 


  1. Brilliant idea! I wish I had something like this available when my kids were young!

  2. Very clever. I wish Nicole Dash much success. This is something I would never have thought of but when I read it I am amazed that I have never heard of something like this.

  3. I hope she succeeds! I would have loved something like this when my kids were childcare age.