My Co-Founder Levi Baer asked me to post this (just invited him to the group so he can participate going forward):
"I have not used time banking in a coworking space, but I was involved in the Chicago Time Exchange. In theory, time banking is a great way for people to understand that everyone has skills that are useful and that everyone’s time is valuable. In practice it is difficult to implement and often it does not reach its goal. For example, the people that would benefit the most from a robust time banking system are those who don’t have skills that are valued in traditional, top down, and frankly often racist, sexists, and classist hierarchies. If a single, low-income mom or dad could use it to buy groceries, pay rent, and visit the dentist, that would be awesome. But in reality, those institutions are not participating in time banking, and usually the only people who are, are those with the privilege of extra time. So there ends up being a lot of things like yoga training, juggling teaching, and guitar lessons that are cool but sort of miss the point of the whole endeavor. Some places have managed to pull it off better than others; the Dane County Time Bank in Madison has a people’s jury and all kinds of great components.
We’re planning a workshop in our coworking space with Mike Strode of The Kola Nut Collective to learn about how it can work with an organization such as ours. I’m sure he’d be open to any questions and discussion. [email protected]
Inside of a coworking community where the exchange of skills, often for a fee, is so vital, you would have to be careful about not offending people who are used to getting paid for their services. I think any time banking implementation would have to invite voluntary participation and might have to focus on recreational exchange rather than professional, i.e., people might be more willing to give away guitar lessons than startup coaching.
Feel free to reach out to me with other questions! [email protected]. "
On Tuesday, August 15, 2017 at 8:53:36 AM UTC-5, Julia Ferguson wrote:
Hi. One of the members of Cowork Frederick brought TimeBanks to my attention. I’m wondering if anyone has used it or something like it for their coworking communities.
At first I was super-excited about the concept, especially the aspects of everyone having something of value to offer, the non-monetary economics of every hour of work having the same value (one hour), and the changing of “How can I help you?” to: “Will you help someone too?”. I immediately wanted to do something like this for our coworking community.
Then I began to have reservations that putting such an exchange in place would lead people to start thinking of everything as a trade, a transaction, instead of freely giving. I grew concerned that people would expect something in return (eventually) and if they never got it would be resentful.
Then again, some of our members have already come to me and mentioned that they spent time helping another member, time they would normally get paid for, and they wished there was some way of recognizing that. And, I suspect we have “takers” in our community, people who get a lot from others and rarely give back. Creating a structure would let them know they are expected to help others when they are helped. while providing a way people with little money reciprocate. A person who gets an hour of consultation from an attorney might give back by spending an hour cleaning the break room.
So, that brings me back to my question: In past GCUC’s, there was talk of “Pay It Forward Walls” and the like. I don’t hear much about it anymore. Has anyone in this group tried something like TimeBanks or any other way of provide a structure for giving of our time and skills? If so, I’d love to hear about it.