Work systems
From: Fred H Olson (
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 07:06:01 -0600 (MDT)
Glenn  GChinery [at]
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It was posted by Fred the Cohousing-L list manager <fholson [at]> 
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We here at Eastern Village Cohousing (Silver Spring, MD; moving in at the
end of the summer of '04) are just having to begin to wrestle with the
issues of sweat equity, community responsibilities, volunteerism, etc. 
Several models of how to structure everyones' contributory tasks for
maintenance, cleaning, cooking common meals, etc. have been suggested, but
we really don't know what will work, and what we will end up with or how
successful we will be.  Our community is extremely diverse in every
category imaginable - from age, career, ethnicity and religous orientation
to culinary preferences, specialized knowledge and partnership status.  So
far we (all 40 or so households of us, out of 55 eventual households) have
been remarkably successful at consensing, planning and compromising (not
perfect, but better than I would have expected); and I and a few others
are extremely confident that this community can work out anything that we
put our mind to --- we have such a treasure trove of great, caring and
community-oriented people full of varied knowledge, experience, expertise
and interests - and enthusiasm. 

I tend to think that we need accountability and organization, and I would
like to see our condo fee structured with a monetary component and a
service component - the service component commensurate with various
persons' abilities and interests.  I am not above allocating some
community monetary resources to hiring outsiders to do some of the tasks
that are either onerous or need specialized professional expertise to
tackle.  Some other community members think that most everything can be
handled on a volunteer basis.  I am a little afraid that the 80/20 rule
will assert itself if there is all volunteerism and no accountability
(that is, 20% of the people end up doing 80% of the work).  I'm just
free-associating my thoughts and musings on this - it will be interesting
to see how we end up managing all of our community needs. 


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