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not to mention heat

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PostWysłany: Pon 2:24, 18 Paź 2010    Temat postu: not to mention heat

Having an office, or a share space where people can work, can make a big difference to your organisation, if adopted at a strategically advantageous time. Conceive of office space as serving as many functions as possible, being a space to work, hold meetings, social events, as well as perhaps hosting a cafe, a library, a drop-in centre for advice on energy efficiency and other aspects of Transition. Ensure that it is welcoming and attractive. Allow as many people as possible to ‘hot desk’, and to have access to the space to work in.
For some initiatives though, an office becomes, after a while, a key part of its ongoing deepening and expansion. To be able to support an office space, your initiative will need to have some form of financial support in place. An office set up and publicised but which nobody is reliably holding is almost counter-productive.
There is a lot to be said, at the earlier stages of doing Transition,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], to working from kitchen tables, cafes and anywhere with wireless and a kettle. After a while though, you may need to decide whether having a dedicated workspace will increase your profile and effectiveness, or become an unnecessary and costly drain on your energy and resources.
This idea of remaining light and nimble was also picked up on by Bart Anderson at Transition Palo Alto, who argued that for a group such as his, meeting in peoples’ homes is a plus for the group, and that Transition needs to look to how corporations are increasingly thinking, encouraging more people to work from home, and to create less bureaucracy. Their feeling is to postpone having an office for as long as possible.
(We are experimenting with calling these ‘Ingredients’ … people seem to be preferring it.. we are collecting and discussing them?on Transition Network’s website to keep all comments in one place. Please leave feedback and comments, suggestions for alternative pictures, anecdotes, stories and projects for this ingredient here).?
Whether or not to have an office is one of the key decisions involved in BECOMING A FORMAL ORGANISATION. Although it is not necessary at an early stage, while your initiative is SCALING UP and looking to maintain MOMENTUM, you may feel the need for a more permanent base, and a more public face, which can also be important for HOW OTHERS SEE US/HOW WE COMMUNICATE.
Trawsnewid Llandrindon Transition has taken a similar decision, holding their meetings in local cafes. A similar approach is taken by Transition San Fernando Valley whose ‘market circle’ invites people to meet at the regular local Farmers’ Market. The way it works is that if 3 or more people turn up, that’s a meeting. If not, they do their shopping and go home. Joanne Poyourow in Transition Los Angeles again argues that they have no need for an office space, and that her initiative always makes sure that its website has a clear ongoing chain of meeting opportunities on its calendar.
It also enables many volunteers to ‘hot desk’, using whatever space is available. Having an office space though is definitely something to do only when it feels like it would add to and strengthen your ability to meet your core aims, rather than something to do for its own sake. Finding affordable office space can be difficult, but making use of a local Hub (if you have one) can be a great way of having an affordable space and networking with other local initiatives, or the Empty Shops Network encourages people to make temporary and creative use of empty shops, which could be a great way of engaging people in a high visibility kind of way.
Transition Town Totnes’s office space also includes a meeting room, which is used by most of the working groups and for some smaller events. It is open for people to drop into between certain times. It does, however, require one very very busy part-time worker in order to sustain it. It is partly funded by ensuring that any funding bids include a percentage for ‘central services’.
In drafting this pattern, I asked, via a post on Transition Culture, for the thoughts of those involved in different initiatives as to whether they see having an office, or a dedicated space, as vital to their work or not. Transition Town Kingston stated that they don’t have an office, nor do they want one. They hold all of their events in local venues and their meetings in members’ homes, and stay in regular contact via email and Twitter.
Being able to even think about having an office will require having identified a way of FINANCING YOUR WORK. If you decide you want to find some office space, such a thing might emerge from your NETWORKS AND PARTNERSHIPS. If you plan to work with VOLUNTEERS you might find that having a focal point, a place where people can drop in, will increase volunteer engagement.
The question as to what kind of infrastructure a Transition initiative needs to seek to create is a fascinating one. Some of the longest-established Transition initiatives, such as Totnes and Lewes, have an office space, but the vast majority of initiatives don’t. Clearly the principal obstacle to this is having the financial capacity to pay for such a space,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], and also for someone to support it between particular hours (not to mention heat, light,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], teabags, paper and so on). It is a commitment not to be taken on lightly.

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