The two roles that are essential for a Hoffice is the host and the facilitator. And we’ve experienced that a Hoffice group benefits greatly from making explicit that the host is not necessarily the facilitator of the Hoffice event. There might be people in the group, who would really like to (learn to) facilitate a Hoffice, but they don’t have space to host themselves. And there might be people with plenty of space, who don’t dare to host, because they feel uncomfortable to facilitate. Talk early on about those issues and try to learn together, what each of you wants to bring as a gift to your Hoffice group.
Hosting a Hoffice
Being a Hoffice host is quite straight forward and you will soon get a hang of it. Read the great blogg To Open Up Your Home To Strangers and learn more! This check-list might help you to get started.
- Decide on a day and create an event in the Facebook group. You can e.g. copy and adopt the text from this template event here, or you write your own text. Anyway, you might want to include in the description of your event:
- When you open and close and when you expect to start with the first check-in
- The number of reasonable good office places; mention also that your guests should “un-attend” if their plans change, so that other people can come instead. Add FULLY BOOKED in the title, when the maximum number is reached.
- Which office features you have and would like to share; e.g. wifi, a room for phone calls or small meetings, printer, scanner, etc.
- How the lunch will be organised; some people write: “There is space in my fridge for your lunchbox!”, a quite nice way to say that people are welcome to bring their own lunch. If you
plan to cook something, describe what it is, if it’s vegeterian/vegan/ecological, if you would like some contribution for it and if your guests should tell you in advance.
/// Tip: A new a much appreciated Hoffice-innovation is the co-created salad buffet. A day or so prior to the event the hosts announces the intent to create a potluck salad and invites guests that are interested in this to post what they intend to bring. This is an easy and delicious way to share a meal at Hoffice!
- If there will be tea/coffee/water/snacks and if you expect (fixed or voluntary) contributions
- How you expect the working environment to be; silent working/talking in between; any activities which might be a barrier for other, e.g. meditation/dance
- [Optionally] If there will be “extra-features”; and this is really up to your own creativity! It could be everything from a long meditation in the morning, to a micro-workshop were someone shares their knowledge to a movie screening in the evening.
/// Tip: The easiest way to set up an event is to open an old event (Hoffice XX fb group → events → click on the little asterisk/star in the top right corner above the upcoming events and select “Past events”) and click on the three dots in the upper right corner. There in the dropdown you click on “Copy event”, then just go in and change the date and time at the bottom. Tata!
- In the morning of your Hoffice event, you might want to reserve 30min for the following steps:
- Clear the tables were you want people to work
- Set-up some multi-plugs for laptops
- Prepare a piece of paper with the wifi code
- Ask your guests with a post-it on your front door in; that reduces unnecessary distraction and shyness
- Put up a post-it note on the “phone & meeting room”, so that guests can make reservations (alternatively organise that over a post in the facebook event)
- [Optionally] Play music at a comfortable volume
- NOT start a cleaning-up project! Read the blog To Open Up Your Home To Strangers and understand why.
- Welcome people and invite for spontaneous conversations (this type of socializing is important for lone workers), but make clear that it is also fine to already sit down and start the work
- Make sure that the facilitator takes over at the scheduled time of the first check-in
- During the day ensure that your guests feel comfortable; you might though invite people to feel totally at home and cook tea/coffee by themselves.
Facilitating a Hoffice
As a facilitator you have the fun task to hold on to the schedule and make thereby sure, that the Hofficers have a good structure to work and stay in tune with their goals. Here are some steps, which might help you to do a great job:
- Collect all people in a circle; you might want to start with a moment of mindfulness (try e.g. the app Insight Timer and chose one of the shorter guided meditations)
- In case that there is new people, explain briefly how a Hoffice day works
- Invite someone in the circle to say his name and state her/his day’s goals by saying “I will celebrate today if I get X, Y, Z done”; help people evtl. in a friendly way to find a concrete, measurable phrasing of their goal; but emphasize at the same time that activities like playing, reading a book or surfing facebook are also very welcome, if they are phrased in a concrete way
- When everyone has named his day’s goal, invite for another round, where everyone states his next-45min-goal; again in a very concrete way (“In the next 45min I will do X, Y, Z!”)
- Start a timer for the first 45min session and mention that everyone is welcome to use the facebook event wall as a place to post wishes for break activities or other important communication
/// Tip: Create a shared online timer so that everyone can keep an eye on the remaining time! Go to marinaratimer.com and share the link in the right corner in the facebook Hoffice event. Then click on “Marinara”, enter 45 min and click “Start Marinara” (you might want to add also a 15min intervall for the break). Now everyone should see the timer running (if not, they should refresh the page by pressing F5).
- After 43min tell everyone that there is 2 minutes left and ask that those who don’t want to participate in the next break (e.g. because they are in a creative flow), should raise their hand; all others should prepare to stop working at the same time
- You can use the last two minutes to think about a good break activity. Our list with break activities might become handy.
- When the 45min have run out, invite everyone to state what they have done in the last block; celebrate together if someone has managed to reach her/his goal
- Facilitate a break activity, like stretching, work-out, icebreaker games, etc.
- Give people a few minutes to go to the toilet or to talk
- 2 minutes before the end of the 15min break, you want to make sure that everyone is gathered again, and you facilitate a round of goal-setting for the next 45min
- …Continue this structure for the rest of the day…
- After the last 45min block, make sure to gather all participants again and invite for a last round of check-out, where everyone reflects on the day, the progress towards the goals and the overall feeling.
If you have any questions, or feel that you need support, ask in the group if someone can help you the first time. Enjoy your Hoffice!