Please Sign Up For Your Shifts

Hey @SpaceForce

There’s a situation that has been developing with the Space Force recently that I wanted to nip in the bud. Basically, instead of officially signing up for shifts, people are simply deciding to show up on specific days without letting anyone know. The impression I get is that it has come from a generous place of wanting to wait to see where help is needed, but the result has been that we get large gaps in our scheduling system.

This has had two effects: first, it’s been really hard for me to know whether a shift is fully staffed or understaffed. I’ll show up on a Saturday thinking it’s only me for the next few hours and find I’ve actually got three or four volunteers on hand. Or I’ll assume people are coming in on their usual day, only to have it turn out I’m alone in the space all day.

It also means we’re not using our volunteers and our shift leaders as effectively as we might. I know that, so far, Brian and I are the only two signing up for Shift Leader shifts, and that has meant we’ve basically given every single weekend (and Thursdays and Fridays) to the space for the last two months or so. I recognize this could sound like idle griping, but it really comes down to a sustainability issue. Unless we start effectively spacing out our labor, this program won’t survive.

So, to that end, I have a couple of quick requests:

  1. Please sign up for your shifts at least a week in advance to coming to them. If you sign up further in advance, it makes it a lot easier for us to plan for the days when there is a lack. The signup is here, just for those of us who need it:

  2. If you are able to sign up for a shift leader shift, please do so when you plan to come in. This mostly applies to @RealCarlRaymond and @jody for now: both of you are checked out to be a shift leader. I would love this both for the obvious sustainability reasons listed above, but also because this will help Brian and I figure out where we need to be better about training our shift leaders.

  3. Please provide us with days when you are generally able to come in. Like, if you tend to be available Thursday nights, but are rarely available Saturday afternoons, please just give us a list of those days. Going forward, if we see gaps in the schedule, we’ll shoot you an e-mail just to see if you can fill it.

Finally I want to just say thank you for the work Space Force has done so far. In a month and a half of existing, this volunteer corps has cleared and reorganized the space such that we’ve been able to expand Jewelry, start strategizing about the central area. On top of that, the new open hours membership has led to an uptick in new members, such that we currently have a record number of people using our space.

So, thank you!

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I just want to add my thank you here as well. Thank you to /everyone/ that has given their time and talents (beyond the last couple of month, of course, but that’s what we’re focusing on here :slight_smile: ). We knew when we kicked off the open hours membership there would be bumps, and everyone’s support has been seriously appreciated.

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First, I want to thank you as well as Bryan, Carl, and Jody for all the time you must put in to LMN. Volunteering over the last couple of months has been something I’ve been glad to do, as I want LMN to succeed and grow.

Not everyone, including me, can easily or always commit a week in advance. When I look at the schedule two days in advance, I see lots of holes to fill. If I can, I sign up and come in. At least it is some advance notice and fills a hole that would otherwise be left open. Showing up to volunteer without signing up can add unnecessary stress and should be avoided.

The last two weekends, I have volunteered to do check-ins. Any of the other times for which I volunteered, there has not been any new members or prospective new members come in. I have done various projects, which I’m glad to do, but I have done nothing related to tasks that might be related to having open hours.

It might not be ideal, but I wonder if the burden of shift supervisor might be eased if expectations were less strict. Instead of considering everything the ideal person should know and be able to do, maybe you (pl.) might consider what is acceptable and safe enough to keep the doors open without so few of you having to be there so much.


Charlie Finkel


Good points overall. I understand that not everyone can commit in farther in advance, and I don’t want you to think I’m saying “don’t sign up unless it’s a week in advance.” A few days works fine. But there are plenty of us who can reasonably say “I think I can generally commit to a Thursday/Saturday rhythm” and could take those shifts.

The thing to remember is that, at the moment we’re trying to lay the groundwork for what this will look like further down the road when we’re not just recruiting volunteers from our members, but recruiting from outside the organization. I want to create a structure now that is sustainable, so that later on we don’t have to backtrack. That includes a scheduling model where people plan a bit in advance.

Showing up to volunteer without signing up can add unnecessary stress and should be avoided.

This is the biggest thing we’re trying to avoid. If a person signs up a few days in advance, that would be great. If they can commit to a few days a week, even better. But we’ve had a couple of instances of people just kind of assuming that it’s understood they plan to show up. That’s a bad precedent to set for an organization reaching out to the community to recruit volunteers.

I have done various projects, which I’m glad to do, but I have done nothing related to tasks that might be related to having open hours.

I respect that, but I would say that this is the signs of early days. We’re going to hit a point, I think, when people are coming through more regularly. Also, weird as it may seem, those projects actually do help with open hours–again, looking down the road, we’re trying to get the space to function as efficiently as possible. The projects you’ve been working on help with that.

Again, all of this is part and parcel of developing a new program and shifting course in an organization that has grown in new directions. If I came across scoldingly in the above post, please know that wasn’t my intent. When I tell you the volunteers are doing great work, I mean it. I’m just trying to get this stuff running smoothly.

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Totally understand that frustration. (Its one we often share as well) We’re continuing to find better ways to get the word out about LMN so that open hours will be hoppin’.

At the moment, the shift supervisors are the folks that we’ve entrusted with things like keys to the cashbox for opening up and closing the space. We’ll certainly be on-boarding more folks to be able to do those things. Shift supervisors are also folks that have answers to questions that might not be clearly stated in SOPs just yet.