Working In a Co-op
So, what is a Workers’ co-operative?
A workers’ co-operative, (often shortened to co-op), is a businessco-owned and democratically managed by its workforce. Most of the full time workers at 8th Day are members of the co-operative who work in either our shop or café AND manage the business. Collectively we take equal responsibility for the decisions our business makes in every way, whether this be day-to-day shop-floor or café procedures, budgeting, long term business planning or where we allocate our charity budget.
How does this work? Each member of the co-op has one vote per proposal which they can use at co-op and departmental meetings to make decisions, this means each member has an equal right and opportunity to discuss ideas, vote on them and influence the direction of the business.
This means there is no traditional top-down or hierarchical management system and we all earn the same – we’re equal. All members are expected to self-manage, and manage each other, and yes, it’s often difficult, but definitely worth it!
The Best Bit: a sense of ownership throughout the business, playing a part in making decisions that affect you (the worker) and empowering members to drive the business forward.
For more information about co-operatives visit www.cooperatives-uk.coop
We really value our non-members, and as such all our non-members are all paid the living wage (as set by the Living Wage Foundation) and on secure non-zero hour contracts. Something we believe is really important for staff wellbeing, morale and a sense of job security.
A Day in the Life of some of our members.
Arrive at 8am, set up the kitchen for the start of the day. Look at what food needs to be made and what we have in the fridges to decide what to cook that day. Help setting up the cafe front of house and get prepared for making breakfasts to order.
9am the cafe opens. For the next two hours I work on preparing batch cooked items while also cooking breakfasts to order along with another member of the kitchen team. We put away kitchen deliveries as they arrive.
During the day my focus is on food production to keep up with our busy lunch services. In free moments I catch up with other coop members about ongoing projects, any additional requirements we might have that week – for instance bookings, large deliveries, out of hours events etc.
I stop for a break for lunch when the cafe is quieter.
In the afternoon I finish off that days cooking and wash pots and clean down my area of the kitchen. If we are having a cafe meeting then I try to get ahead so I am free to sit down for that. I sometimes have meetings with other individual coop members also to fit into this time, for instance HR meetings with a colleague.
At the end of my shift I make sure the kitchen is clean and write notes on what to cook for the staff coming in tomorrow. I check stock and place our vegetable and dry goods orders for the next day.
At 5pm I finish for the day (other days I might start later but work until 8pm).
Arrive at 8.30.
Help get the shop ready for opening.
Brief meeting with my nutrition colleague regarding new products, special offers, merchandising and labelling in the medicines section.
Meeting with various representatives from asupplement companies, I am one of the medicines buyers for the business so I need to look at new products and deals for winter health.
15 minute break.
HR meeting with 2 colleagues on new member to worker development, I am also a part of the HR department and involved in hiring new members and managing personnel issues.
Back in the medicines section answering customer health queries advising on diets and supplements, a major part of my job in our busy health section.
1 hour lunch a walk to Central Reference library is good escape.
In the office typing up notes from this morning’s HR meeting and working on rotas for the next month, I do the shop rota as part of my HR role.
Onto the shop floor for the last couple of hours putting out stock in the medicines section and helping my customers find what they need to keep them healthy and happy.