Re: Responsibilities vs. Hours
From: Muriel Kranowski (
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 2016 13:29:41 -0800 (PST)
It's been interesting to see the various viewpoints on this. As David
Heimann said, you can have "fairness" (= obligation, reporting, keeping
track) or "lightness" (trust that people will step up as needed). My
temperament inclines me toward "fairness" but my community's inclination
has been for "lightness" - what some of our early members called a
"loosey-goosey" approach, and they meant it positively. Human nature being
what it is, there will be advantages and disadvantages no matter how you do
it. We think our way works pretty well for us, with some minor grumbling

We have defined a fairly large number of individual workshare tasks that we
think need to be done that you sign up for annually, each task being under
a committee or subcommittee that theoretically could provide guidance and
oversight - I don't know how much that actually happens. A task might be
covered by one person or by a small team. There are also 3 or 4 regular and
occasional extra work days per year.

Many cleaning and maintenance chores - things you need to keep doing every
week or two such as mowing our grassy spaces, cleaning the various CH
spaces - are done by signing up to do it that week or in a future week,
with a task person doing the weekly or bi-weekly recruiting. Other defined
tasks handle responsibilities such as maintaining our pedway lights,
laundry machines, CH HVAC system,etc etc, that must be done but just
occasionally or only as needed.

No one keeps track of your work hours, although we set a goal for monthly
volunteer hours per household. There is no requirement to serve on a
committee or attend meetings.

We're in the annual Workshare sign-up period now, and the last "Hey please
sign up!" note identified only 3 remaining empty task slots - one for a
newly created task, one whose very long-time task person is no longer able
to do it, and I forget what the 3rd one was. People tend to stay with their
tasks for years, which is good because it builds expertise and a sense of
ownership, and maybe bad in that someone else might be better for a
particular task but it's taken. Two teams are considered to need
specialized expertise and those roles are filled differently, based on a
model we got from Laird Schaub.

Of course, people can sign up for tasks and then not do them, or not well
enough. That is hard to monitor or fix. Last year we created a task for a
go-to person who can take complaints about tasks not being done and go talk
to the task person, but she didn't receive any complaints. Maybe we haven't
publicized this enough, or maybe people aren't comfortable complaining
about their neighbors in this way, or maybe 2016 was an exceptionally
high-task-performing year :)

  Muriel at Shadowlake Village, Blacksburg, VA

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