The Omni Commons strives to create a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. At the same time, we need to track who is in the building and what is going on in the building to keep the people and the building safe. To that end, we try to maintain a presence at the front door of the building as much as possible. We have no official 'staff', only unpaid volunteers. This page contains information on the general protocol for holding down a front desk shift.
All member collectives must have at least 1 member holding down a minimum 4-hour front desk shift per week. Collectives with more than 20 members should have a proportional representation at the front desk (eg; sudo, with ~60 members, should hold down 3 shifts/week).
Step 1: Attend a monthly orientation
Step 2: Sign up for a shift
Shifts are loosely scheduled in 2 or 4-hour blocks from 10am-2pm, 2-6pm, and 6-10pm. You can sign yourself up by visiting https://omnicommons.org/frontdesk and adding your name to your preferred day. Although it is fine to do a door shift by yourself, having 2 people on a shift (especially if it tends to be a busy one) can be really helpful and make the shift more fun.
Step 3: Show up at your scheduled time!
Arrange the space
At some point we will construct proper front desk area, in the mean time, you may arrange the furniture in the entry area in any way that works for you. You may also sit behind the white bar and use that as the welcome desk.
The tall mobile whiteboard is typically used for listing the day's events. Visit https://omnicommons.org/calendar to see what the schedule is for the day, then copy it to the whiteboard. Place the whiteboard where it is visible to people coming in the front door.
It is helpful to have the following information sheets available to hand out and refer to: Omni orientation booklets; Safer Space policy; Statement of Solidarity; volunteer info sheets and the info sheets on member collectives.
At the beginning of your shift, do a quick walk-through the entire building to see who is around and what is going on. Make a note of anything that needs to be dealt with (eg. bathrooms need toilet paper, someone left a mess somewhere that needs to be cleaned up, something is broken, etc). Also, check all the entrances (Ballroom doors, and 2 48th Street doors) to make sure they are closed and locked unless they need to be open for a specific reason, like FNB loading/unloading.
Ensure the pathways to the ballroom, basement, and sudo/ccl are clear and wheelchair-friendly.
If you want, brew a pot of coffee, fill the hot water heater, and procure mugs from the upstairs kitchen for donation-based coffee and tea.
Set out a donation jar and boot up the tablet for accepting debit/credit card donations using the Square app and card reader.
Put out the Door Shift log.
Stuff You Need to Know
Rules About Access to the Omni
Members of Omni Collectives may be in the space at any time. Members of collectives are eligible to receive key cards to enter the building. See "Key Card Information" below. Others may be in the space if they are a guest of a member of an Omni Collective who is also present and agrees to take responsibility for their guest. People who are coming for events at the Omni may also enter the space as guests of the collective holding the event or of a space renter holding an event. It is the responsibility of the event point person (from the Commons Working Group) or collective member(s) overseeing the event to make sure all the guests are out of the building by the time they leave. Any member may ask any non-member to leave for any reason. It is reasonable to to this if
- they have violated the Safer Space Policy,
- they are in the space without a member taking responsibility for them,
- they are involved with any disturbance or are violating our community agreements,
- they use the space in an irresponsible manner, meaning they make a mess or damage something and don't take responsibility for it.
- you are closing the building
The Door Shift Log
The door shift log hasn't been started as of early January 2015, because we haven't had people regularly doing door shifts yet. The log can serve several purposes:
- keep track of who is in the building
- record anything that needs attention (eg. bathrooms need tp)
- communicate between door shifts and to other Omni volunteers about what is gong on or needs to be done.
Write down anything you see that someone needs to take care of, if you did anything about it (such as notifying the Building Working Group that a toilet is malfunctioning) Describe any major incidents that occur on your shift. Write down anything you want people on the following door shifts to know.
We need to agree upon how (if) to use the log to track who enters and leaves the building.
Key Card Information
Members in good standing of Omni collectives can use a magnetic strip card to access the building via the card reader mounted to the right of the main door. Find a key card with a magnetic strip that does not contain any important information. People often use their Safeway or Costco cards, or gift cards with no balance. Bring the card to the Omni and swipe it 5 times in a row in the card reader at the main door. Note the time you do this. Then send an email to keys(at)lists.omnicommons.org with an identifying name (can be a pseudonym), the collective you belong to, and the time you swiped your card. The sysadmins will notify you when your card has been activated, or if there is some problem and they need you to use a different card or repeat the process.
What to Do on Your Door Shift
Either keep the door open (only if the weather is appropriate) or answer when folks ring the bell. Greet people who enter or come to the door in a friendly manner. People with keys or key cards are members of collectives - all you need to do is say hi.
If you don't know that someone is a member of a collective, greet them with something to the effect of "Hi! Welcome to the Omni! I'm (name). What brings you here today?" If they say they are a member of a collective they may enter. If they are not a member of a collective, are not with a member of a collective, and are not attending a scheduled event, they may only enter if you are willing to have them as your guest. If you inform the person about the policy in a friendly manner, they will usually be fine with it.
Point people in the direction of the room they're looking for if they ask. If the person is visiting the space for the first time, offer to give a tour!
Deal with the mail
When the mail comes:
- throw away the junk.
- sort it at your desk.
- give it to the appropriate people if they are in the building.
- put it to the appropriate mailbox. Mailboxes for the collectives and other Omni associates are located in the Timeless, Infinite Light office. If you don't have a key to that office, someone is in often in there who will let you in.
Give tours/Answer Questions
At the End of Your Shift
If someone replaces you, let them know if there is anything they should be aware of.
Make sure anyone who is in the building as your guest leaves with you, unless the next shift is willing to have them as their guest.
If no one is replacing you, straighten up the front desk area and put away any valuable things (tables, laptop, square, etc). Make sure all the doors are locked before you leave.
Closing the Building
At the end of the night (10pm-midnight), do a walkthrough of the building and ensure only collective members are present before you leave. Let non-members know that the space will soon be closing, and give at least a 15-minute warning. See Closing for an in-depth description of the walkthrough procedure. Make sure all the doors are locked when you leave, unless another volunteer is present to take over the front desk.