Jerusalem, Israel - Sept. 14, 2023 - The world learned during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic about working from home. Time saved on commuting could or would be lost with distractions and disruptions around the house, from the laundry to dirty dishes piling up in the sink. Children home from school compounded the situation.
Now with the Yomim Tovim, balancing the time for meal preparation and more is a challenge, especially for women in the workforce.
In Yerushalayim, since January, OfficeOurs has been a special coworking space for Chareidi working mothers. It offers more features than being available 24/7 (really 24/6).
It has taken all these months to accept an invitation to visit the site and photograph the space before sharing it with BJL readers. Even close to Rosh Hashanah, some young women were seen at work on their computers as we tried not to disturb them.
Yehuda Biala is the Founder of OfficeOurs, the coworking space for women in Har Chotzvim. For those unaware, Har Chotzvim has become a serious center for technology innovation and startups, accessible by many bus lines and with a variety of mehadrin food options. Biala also chose the prime location because he realized women wanted to be close to where they lived. Originally from Mountaindale, NY, his aim is to provide a space and assist families to have a better parnasa.
I immediately thought of the young Kollel wives who needed a safe and convenient place to work not far from Ramot Eshkol.
"B’Siyaata D’Shmaya, my solution is to provide a professional space that is really conducive to working - everyone raves about how much more productive they are, and - crucially - provide babysitting in the next room," stated Biala. The room provided for babysitting up to one-year-olds is next to the large well-lit and elegantly decorated workroom with rows of workstations designed from top to bottom by Yael Weisner. For nursing mothers, it is an ideal position.
The professional location and pleasant atmosphere work to enhance the mental health of the mothers and the babies. Too many young mothers are stressed trying to work at home with their children around. Working in pajamas in such a situation can lead to being depressed. One mother related that working at OfficeOurs makes her appreciate her family more when she is home.
The office has an air intake fan that runs 24 hours a day, so even when the windows are closed there is air circulation. Checking the view out the window, there was a nice distance to the next building. Plus there is a small sitting area where one can take a break outside - if the Yerushalayim weather cooperates. On the third floor of a clean building with elevator and stair options, additional positive features for accessibility.
Data security and good internet are important features in businesses as well as receipts. For an Israeli company, you can deduct for business expenses. Since OfficeOurs has its price structure listed online, women can find the best solution for their needs. Accountants, graphic designers, and an engineer for fire safety systems are among the women who take advantage of the workspaces.
Most of the women work in the morning, but the other shifts are available, as is the use of the space to rent for small events. Oh, more than once on the website it is mentioned that OfficeOurs has good and free coffee available. Checked that out as well, and had a cup of coffee with almond milk. Kashrus is important in the small, but clean kitchen, almond milk is available after a meat lunch.
I was happy to get one long-time item off my to-do list before heading home to work and preparing for Yom Tov. If you know any young women off to Yerushalayim after the Chagim who are starting or even better continuing their US jobs online, suggest they check out OfficeOurs. I am glad I finally accepted Yehuda's invitation.