AUSTIN, TEXAS (June 4, 2012) In an entrepreneurial city such as Austin, the coworking phenomenon has taken root and is thriving. However, freelancers, entrepreneurs and others in the mobile workforce who have young children continue to grapple with the challenges of balancing quality child care, family time and a productive work life. Enter Plug & Play, a coworking professional community with integrated, fully licensed childcare. Founded by a working mom with nearly 15 years of corporate experience, Plug & Play is the first of its kind in Texas. The 3,773 square-foot facility will open in early June at 13343 N. Highway 183, Suite 200, next to the Kerbey Lane in Northwest Austin.
When Amy Braden had her son three years ago, she, like most working parents, experienced the challenges of balancing work and family on a day-to-day basis. Soon thereafter, Braden came up with the simple idea for how to solve this problem: a modern professional space paired with high quality, on-site hourly child care where people who have flexible jobs ˗ whether it’s telecommuting, job sharing, freelancing or working for a company that allows work-from-home ˗ can combat isolation by joining a community of fellow workers in a professional office environment while their children have the opportunity to play and learn with new friends.
Plug & Play Austin is divided into two dedicated units: Plug and Play. Plug offers a comfortable, quiet work environment for up to 40 members at a time. It features private work nooks, fast, reliable wi-fi connectivity and plenty of outlets. Plug also offers printing, faxing, and scanning, a conference room and a collaboration room, each with videoconferencing capabilities, a refreshment bar with gourmet coffee, water and light snacks, and more. Mailbox and shipping services are available for additional fees. Plug members have opportunities to attend members-only seminars and free networking functions, while Plug and Play members can enjoy occasional Parents Night Out from 6pm until 11pm on select Saturdays.
Much more than a simple babysitting setting, the Play side provides a structured day care environment for children ages six weeks through four years. Here, children benefit from a Reggio-inspired play curriculum in which the principles of respect, responsibility, and community are encouraged through exploration and discovery, all in a supportive and enriching environment. The Play unit is divided into three distinct rooms by age groups: six weeks to 12 months; 13-23 months and two to four years. The facility can accommodate up to 32 children at a time. An hourly outline of Play activities is posted on the website, so that while parents work, they always know exactly what their children are learning in class just steps away. Plug & Play will also schedule special activities for the children such as musical performances and art classes.
“With so many men and women juggling full or part-time work in addition to the joyful yet demanding challenge of parenting, this type of service is long overdue,” said owner Braden. “And Austin is the ideal city to launch Plug & Play, with its progressive attitude toward work-life balance.”
Plug & Play’s director of child care operations, Melinda Ortega, is a childcare professional with more than 15 years of experience teaching and caring for young children. Before joining the company, Ortega was lead teacher at the top-rated Primrose School of Cedar Park West. She is also a working mother with a teen-aged daughter and two grown sons. Ali Najar, director of client services, will handle day-to-day operations at Plug & Play, ensuring that members receive individual attention and professional support. Najar comes from a corporate project management background and will be a personal liaison to the professional lifestyle that best suits each member family.
Prospective members can try the Plug space for one day at no cost, while child care is billed at hourly rates during the trial period. Plug & Play members can sign their children up for a variety of packages offering a set number of hours per month, or take advantage of a pay-as-you-go option. There are no Play-only memberships as Plug & Play is first and foremost a community for working professionals. A limited number of Plug-only work memberships are available.
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About Plug & Play
Founded by Amy Braden in 2012, Plug & Play is a work-life solution that provides professional coworking space and hourly child care under one roof. Members enjoy all the benefits of an office setting while their children are cared for in an adjoining fully-licensed on-site child care center. Plug & Play provides a pleasant place to work, make connections and get to know people in a fun, productive setting. Located at 13343 N. Highway 183, Suite 200, Austin, Texas, 78750, the center is open Monday through Friday from 8am until 5 pm and Saturdays from 10am until 5pm. For more information on Plug & Play including membership fees and frequently asked questions, visit plugandplayaustin.com or call 512-258-7584. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter.