The Hive: As women leave workforce in record numbers, new Fairport space looks to help

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A new co-working space for women is in the works in Fairport. 

The Hive is all about celebrating women. Whether you’re a small business owner, freelancer, or mother who just needs a little space, this spot could be what you’re looking for.

And it comes at an important time. 

During the pandemic, women have left the workforce at record numbers. Whether it’s for more work-life balance or child care, more than 2.3 million women left their jobs in 2020 alone, according to research by McKinsey & Company.  Only 57% of women are participating in the labor force, the lowest level since 1988.

Chelsey Zawadzki, the owner of The Hive, is hoping to help change that. 

Her idea of the studio space came after she saw how the pandemic was shifting how people work.

“I have a few girlfriends, for instance, who never went back to the office. Their job said, ‘Hey, you’re doing a great job at home. Why don’t you stay there, we’re saving some money on office space, so why don’t you just work from home.’ Which is great in theory, except your dishes, stare at you, your laundry stares at you, and for me, it was much harder for me to get quality work done while sitting in my own home. I used to go sit at a coffee shop or sit in the library just to remove myself,” Zawadzki said. 

The Hive offers spaces to work, meeting rooms, printing, WiFi, and a chance for women to get to know others in different businesses. Zawadzki says there will be a Hives Rolodex to connect members. 

“If you are a woman who sells a certain product and maybe you need some headshots for your website, on a Rolodex you’ll be able to reach out and maybe the woman sitting next to you as a photographer, and she’ll be able to work together within the space or trading goods and services,” she explained. 

The studio will also offer childcare. As a mother of two, Zawadzki knows first-hand how hard it can be trying to work at home, while taking care of children. 

“Being a working mom is so tough… like you have that traditional mom guilt I guess you can call it, that you should be the homemaker, you should be home, you should be watching your kids,” she said. “I don’t care what kind of woman you are,  if you’re a working woman… it still tugs at your heartstrings, that thought is still there,” she said. 

The Hive will offer parents the chance to step away from their kids for a few hours at a time. The care is provided in 2-3 hour time slots and up to 15 hours a week. 

“If you have the type of job that you don’t necessarily need a full-time nanny or a full-time daycare, this kind of bridges the gap. So if you need two hours to work and have someone watch your kid so that you can get quality work done, and then you can go home, do all the things that you need to have done in your home, so that you don’t necessarily have such a such a heavy guilt,” Zawadzki said. 

Once the space is up and running, Zawadzki plans to also offer monthly member nights for people to learn something new. This could include paint nights, learning about finances or social media, or taking part in cooking classes. 

“We can learn to know each other and it does become a little bit more than a general co-work, but more of a community,” she said. 

Zawadzki hopes the space will inspire more women to chase their dreams, while also reminding them how much they matter. 

“If you take away everything, if you take away our job, if you take away your role as a parent, as a mother, all anybody ever wants is to be seen, is to be heard, is to be understood. And that’s what will happen here,” she said. 

 “When you are a small business owner and you’re working for yourself, there’s nobody giving you employee the month. There’s nobody sending you a plaque saying, ‘Hey, good job.’ Where in this space, I can kind of be the controller of that, and I can say, ‘I see you, you are slaying, brag about yourself, give yourself a pat on the back because you deserve it.’”

The Hive is expected to be open by the end of the year. It’s located at 1387 Fairport Road in Suite 1000D. 

The hours of the studio will be from 6 am to 10 pm.

To learn more about The Hive, you can click here. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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