juggleHUB: Co-Working with Childcare in Prenzlauer Berg03 May 2022 | By Lisa H
Katja Thiede and Silvia Steude are the co-founders of juggleHUB Co-Working with Childcare in Prenzlauer Berg. In this interview, Katja tells us more about their model, who it's for and what tips they have for other founders.
Fun fact: Our daughter is an "alumni" of juggleHUB, which we used for a few months to bridge the time before starting Kita 😁.
What is juggleHUB? When and why did you open the coworking space?
I could say that the juggleHUB is a coworking space with flexible childcare, but somehow that description doesn't do justice to the place and what happens there. People in all phases of life come together here, some for a short time, some for years.
They work here, exchange ideas, sometimes friendships develop. Here, everyone can be who he or she is and is welcome if he or she is just as appreciative of the other people in the Hub. Our workshop rooms are great for thinking around corners, and teams can have their own self-contained office here.
Parents find the much-needed haven here where they can can breathe a sigh of relief, know that their children are in good hands, and can devote themselves to their issues with a clear conscience and as part of a community. Work and family are central themes here, but we have also done many other things - from readings to flea markets and neighborhood festivals.
But at its core, it's about spaces to work in a way that fits the current phase of life.
How does the childcare option work at juggleHUB?
Childcare can be booked flexibly according to need. It is therefore not a fixed care as in the daycare center. You can book 24 hours in advance. Coworkers with a coworking membership who only need childcare occasionally can simply book it on an hourly basis. Those who always want to use coworking together with childcare can book it as a combined offer.
Since the flexible childcare situation is different than in a daycare center, where the children always have the same children around them, we have a very good childcare ratio of 1:3. If there are more than three children, a second childminder comes to help the colleague.
Currently, we care for a maximum of six children at a time. The children's area is in an extra wing of our old building floor and includes a playroom, a bedroom and a bathroom.
The coworking rooms are separated from the childcare rooms by a corridor, so that parents can work in peace and quiet, but also have a short walk to their children if necessary, for example to breastfeed or even spend their lunch break together.
How are you able to help parents that have not been able to find a Kita spot? Can they have their costs reimbursed by the Jugendamt?
Many parents who have not been able to find a place in a daycare center take advantage of our offer. In the past, you could have the costs reimbursed up to a certain amount by the youth welfare office (“Jugendamt”). However, with the onset of the Corona pandemic, the funds for this were cut. (We wrote about the program in another article.)
We hope, however, that there will be a budget for this again in the future - or that there will be enough daycare places for the sometimes desperate parents. Our colleague Anne from Work'n'Kid, the owner of another coworking space with childcare who we also interviewed for our blog, is fighting tirelessly at the political and administrative level for legal changes and additional funding.
Can you name some positive experiences and happy endings you’ve had in your work with parents and kids?
There have been countless wonderful moments with the children and the parents. Some of them still send us greetings, for example from vacation, even though the kids go to school by now.
When you experience the so important first months or years after the birth of a child to some extent with the parents, it creates a bond that stays. That's one of the things that makes working at the juggleHUB so great.
How has your worked been received (by parents, Kitas, politicians, the press)?
When we launched in 2016, we received a lot of attention. A company founded by mothers that just thinks family and work together? - Unbelievable. (Laughs).
We gave a lot of interviews, talked to the Senate Administration, had visitors from abroad who wanted to see if such a concept would work for them, and much more. That made us happy, of course. It would be even nicer if the framework conditions for flexible childcare would really change now.
On the one hand, we see the need and the impact of what we are doing, but on the other hand, the hurdles to setting up such a project and running it economically are high. Nevertheless, we can only encourage potential founders to take the path.
Thanks, Katja! Parents, head here if you'd like to learn more.
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