Schools closing causes run on business babysitter at Charly Cares

MT/Sprout writes about the increase in demand for a business babysitter. They interviewed Charly van der Straten on the newest developments of our babysitting platform.

The article on MT/Sprout:

5 times did the number of requests on babysitting platform Charly Cares increase this past week. Employers want to ensure their people can remain productive, even with the schools closed. A babysitter proves to be a solution.

Hectic times for Charly van der Straten and Xander Koenen: since Monday - even before the closing of schools was officially announced by Prime Minister Rutter - it has been incredible busy on their babysitting platform Charly Cares.

Many parents already saw it coming: just like during the last lockdown, the kids spending all day on the floor, following their online education from behind a laptop. And that - especially if you work in the healthcare, but also in the accountancy or legal sectors - during the busiest period of the year: the notorious Q1. A babysitter at home is suddenly no longer a luxury, but an employment condition that keeps you productive and can prevent a lot of stress.

Employers want a business account

Employers are also starting to take notice. The proof: at Van der Straten's, they are lining up to open a business account. ‘Hospitals such as the OLVG already became a customer at the start of the coronacrisis. They said: our doctors must be able to continue their work at all costs, even when their children are stuck at home.’

But, over the course of the year, and especially in this past week, dozens of other employers have also reported to the Amsterdam scaleup. The big consultancies, law firms, and tax specialists - although Van der Straten is not allowed to name names. ‘But they are mainly customers who are looking ahead to those first months of 2021: the children are being homeschooled during weeks that are already extremely busy due to year-end closings, for example.’

From the WKR

So, time for a business babysitter. At Sprout Challenger Charly Cares, employers can open a business account and purchase a specific amount of babysitting credit. They can then, for example, allocate a personal babysitting budget to their employees, or they can reserve credit for a pool of employees. This reimbursement can often be done via the well-known WKR, from which many a bicycle and a laptop has also been reimbursed in a tax-friendly manner. On average, business customers purchase 75 babysitting hours per employee for the coming lockdown.

‘You already see this happening a lot in the US and London, where nannies at home or childcare vouchers are a lot more common. But in the Netherlands, that same thing is getting a push thanks to corona.’ She feels that what is now an absolute necessity in order not to get overburdened as a parent and employee, will be there to stay for next year as well, even if all of the Netherlands has been vaccinated. ‘Why do you think we are currently working overtime to make sure all companies are connected?’ laughs Van der Straten, who is starting her maternity leave today of all days.

New business line

Charly Cares is active in 57 cities, has over 85.000 users on its platform, on which 10.000 screened ‘Babysitting Angels’ offer their services. ‘Employers are also currently signing up from places where we are not yet active. That is why we also allow people to register their ‘own’ babysitter with us, so that we can then arrange the payment and billing.’

‘You have to keep innovating and this extra business line is very welcome, because, if I may be honest: after years of strong growth, we are experience a mega corona dip in bookings. Parents are no longer just going out, they are being more careful and hesitant when booking a babysitter. This business branch only partly makes up for that. Moreover, we also use our babysitters to offer tutoring services, and we are looking to expand our services to include light household work. But indeed: we hope to make up for the dip with this end-of-year sprint and, above all, by having a good start to 2021.’

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