Members Charter

Our vision is to create a workspace where micro-businesses (1-3 people) can work in a lively and fun environment.  It should be conducive to getting some productive work done, be a great place to network, and give people the social interaction that they miss when working from home or in a small (or serviced) office.

More specifically, the workspace will likely have most or all of the following characteristics:

  • Open plan – probably something like a warehouse conversion with floorboards, exposed brick walls and high ceilings
  • Desk for those who want their own permanent desk space
  • One or two large tables with chairs for part-time members to work in a hot-desk type of environment
  • One or two meeting rooms for private meetings
  • some communal spaces, including a lounge area with a TV and some tables and chairs for group meetings
  • basic kitchen facilities
  • fax, printer and internet with a wireless connection (BYO laptop and mobile phone)
  • possibly an office manager and/or receptionist if the budget allows
  • pool table, or other similar recreational activity/space (in a separate room)

This space won’t be the quietest place to work (you can head home if you need some quiet time, or grab a meeting room if there is one free), but will have a real buzz to it with people coming and going at all times. It may have a TV with business news running in the background, or sport when something big is on. It may even have music playing in the background late in the day as everyone is winding down and we’re in need of something to keep us going for another hour or two more.

If there is one single goal I have for this space, it’s that every morning when we get up and face the decision of whether to go to the office or just work from home, it must be an easy decision – of course we’ll go to the office. Even if all we have to do is surf the web for six hours then head home, at least we will be in place where we can interact with each other – we can talk business, hear about potential opportunities to work with other members, brainstorm new business ideas, meeting other members’s friends and regularly get introduced to potential clients. Similarly, when it hits 4pm or 5pm people should not want to race out the door as is the case with most traditional corporate offices.  Instead, we should want to stick around and wind down over a beer and maybe a pizza with other members, or invite a friend over to see the office and have a game of pool while brainstorming their next great business idea. In other words, as well as an office this should become a drop in point (a “hub”) for other small business people that we know, creating new opportunities to meet people every day of the week.

Members Charter

Another goal we have for the community of businesses that operate out of the shared workspace is for all members to sign a charter or code of conduct. This would be a document where all agree to maintain a certain level of business ethics… both when dealing with other members and with other members of the wider community.

The idea is that members should have a slightly higher level of trust in each other based on knowing everyone has signed the charter. It could also be a selling point for potential members, knowing that the members they will be sharing their workspace with have signed onto the charter and have other tenants “policing” them.

On a related topic, I also like the idea of painting in huge red letters the words “Do The Right Thing” on one wall… a constant reminder that we’re there to look out for others and act responsibly, as well as making a dollar.

The sort of things that could be included in such a charter include:

  • to act honestly and with integrity
  • to seek solutions that benefit both parties in a transaction;
  • to give back to the community by volunteering, donations, etc… subject to personal situations;
  • to have fun in business;
  • to support other members of the group and deal at preferred rates where possible..

Finally, how we actually police something like this is up for debate. Do we have a committee that reviews complaints? Maybe the ability to eject members that have two or three “strikes” against their name? Is it just peer group pressure that helps police the charter?

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