© Meiko Herrmann
Katja Thiede is co-founder of juggleHUB – a coworking space with flexible childcare. Their goal is to make the world of work more family-friendly and therefore more philanthropic. In order to promote the topic, she also writes articles, acts as a speaker, organizes events and speaks with companies. So, she’s definitely one of our #ChangeAgents.
Katja, if you could change one thing about the job market right away, what would it be?
I wish that parents – and especially mothers – would not be seen and treated as second-class workers; that parenting would be seen as something valuable to a person’s personal development and to society in general; and have that be reflected in an appreciative way of dealing with employees who have children. This includes creating conditions under which people can work in ways that suit their lives. And so that it doesn’t lead to “burn out.”
How have you personally contributed to bringing about change?
With the juggleHUB – a coworking space with flexible child care – my co-founder Silvia and I have created a place where people in different life situations can work, learn and network, especially when they have children. Our co-working concept is aimed not only at the self-employed, but also at companies who want to easily put in place “family-friendly working conditions.” This way, they can empower their employees to work with us when needed and to take advantage of childcare. “Facilitating” means that companies are not only open to working independently of location, but also financially support this model if necessary, thus providing coworking and childcare allotments for employees. We frequently discuss this with big companies as well as medium-sized companies, agencies and start-ups. Unfortunately, we’ve seen time and again how much more work needs to be done on the way to becoming a family-friendly and ultimately humane working world. But we remain stubborn and continue to tackle this thorny issue. For example, I work at events as a speaker and write blog posts and articles on the subject of “New Work.” At juggleHUB, we also regularly organize events to exchange and network to get in touch with parents, businesses, caregivers, initiatives – that is to say, everyone – and to promote things.
What does a company prepared for the “working world of tomorrow” look like?
Such a company puts people back in the spotlight; namely, people’s individuality, their diverse ways of life, and varying life situations. This has implications not only for how working conditions are shaped, but also for staff selection and development. This means, for example, “saying goodbye” to the linear CV. Changes in life are part of this – and should be seen as such. Career development must be possible at all stages of life, regardless of whether one was on a two-month or two-year parental leave. For a progressive company, one year of parental or family leave is worth no less than one year of Erasmus. And it doesn’t matter if there’s an “expecting mother” sitting in front of me or an “expecting father” because it’s obvious that male employees also take time off or reduce their hours. In general, for companies with appreciation and appropriate working models, potential parenthood isn’t seen as a danger but rather as a natural part of life. In short, a company that is prepared for tomorrow’s world of work no longer seeks to adapt people to the labor market, but rather the working conditions to the people.
Katja, thank you for your time & dedication!
In our #ChangeAgents section, we introduce people who encourage us to tackle and change things. Strong minds, who work with passion for a more humane working world, thus initiating a change in thinking and actively helping to shape change processes. Our #ChangeAgents are role models, lateral thinkers, multipliers and dissenters.