New Employees



Welcome to AvaCon, we are excited to have you on board and look forward to working with you!

As a new member of the AvaCon team, there are a few things to know that might help you get acclimated to our work style and culture, particularly if you’re not used to working with a completely geographically distributed team. Most people’s professional experience has taken place in a physical office or other real life work site, but AvaCon’s work generally takes place completely online, and that takes a certain mindfulness and deliberate communication in order to be successful.

Here are a few things we’ve learned along the way that may help you settle in to your new role.

Part Time Volunteer Work, Full Time Commitment to Reliability & Responsibility

Nearly everyone involved with AvaCon has other responsibilities, whether it’s another full time job, school, family obligations, or even other volunteer projects. We know everyone is busy and we value the passion and energy it takes to juggle careers and family while still finding time to do volunteer work.

That’s why most of our day-to-day work is arranged to be very flexible with your existing schedule! Our goal is for your work with AvaCon to fit in with your life and lifestyle so that it’s fun, enjoyable, and most importantly – sustainable! Volunteer burnout is a very real phenomenon and we do everything we can to be flexible and accommodating so that your work with us is manageable.

That being said, we do have real commitments and real deadlines that our partners and the communities we support expect us to meet.  In order to meet those obligation and produce high quality services and events, we need our team to be reliable and responsible in their work with us, with each other, and with the communities we serve.

To us, reliability isn’t about showing up at the office at the same time every day rain or shine, it’s being able to depend upon you to keep your word. If you let us know (hopefully well in advance!) that you’ll be out of town for a few weeks for your day job, no problem! We can generally plan around the ebb and flow of your work or family life, so long as you let the team know what’s going on so we can plan for it.

Beyond being reliable, we also need our team to be responsible. We hold everyone, including ourselves, to a very high ethical standard and we expect everyone on our team to work with honesty, with integrity, and with professionalism. Being responsible means owning your work and doing it well, and knowing that the only way an organization like AvaCon can function is if we can all trust each other to take our responsibilities seriously, even if we don’t see each other or talk every day.


Communication is Your Key to Success

And since we’re not in the office every day face-to-face (and in fact may never actually see each other’s faces!), how we communicate with each other becomes the single most important make-or-break factor of our (and your) success. If there’s any one thing you take away from this handbook, we hope it’s this: Communicate, communicate, communicate!

Working in isolation, or failing to keep in touch with the team, are the top reasons why someone ends up not being a good fit for AvaCon. We can help you with whatever you may need, so long as you communicate what’s going on. Not sure what you need to do? Ask! Having a problem meeting a deadline? Tell someone!

It’s also worth noting that it’s not enough to communicate, it also matters how you communicate. We have a zero tolerance policy for disrespectful or unprofessional behavior, and expect everyone on our team to treat each other with respect, kindness, and patience, even when things get stressful. We use text chat and email communication every day, and work with a global audience who may not speak English as a first language, so remember to be thoughtful about what you say and that your tone of voice can get lost in translation.

Timely, good communication is the key to coordinating all of our efforts. When things are busy, keeping track of everyone’s activities can be a big challenge, and we rely on our online channels, document sharing, and using our virtual office to keep everyone on the same page.

About that Virtual Office…

Many members of the AvaCon team have been working and playing in virtual spaces for many years, while others may still be relatively new to the concept. If so, that’s ok! You don’t have to be a geek, a gamer, or a virtual world expert to be a vital part of the AvaCon team, but you will need to develop at least some level of comfort with the virtual environments we use and the metaverse platforms and technologies we support.

To that end, we use the OpenSimulator platform to host our virtual office on the AvaCon grid, and you’ll be expected to learn how to navigate and perform some basic content creation in order to function as part of the team, since that’s where we meet and how we organize, plan, and develop much of our work. If this sounds daunting, try not to worry too much. Many of us have years of experience teaching others, from grade school kids and college students to busy executives and administrators, how to operate and use these platforms. We’ll help you figure it all out, and once you do, hopefully it will become a valuable part of your skillset, even if it isn’t the main function of your job.

The Importance of Always On (or as much as possible!) Chat Channels

The primary way we stay in touch with each other is through our Skype chat channels. You may already be in the habit of staying logged in to a chat or IM platform, but if not, we hope you’ll get in the habit to help foster the “loose ties, strong connections” culture we nurture. (See interpersonal ties if you aren’t sure what that means.)

During busy periods or when we’re planning or running an event or activity, the Skype channels become crucially important to coordinating our activities. We often set up separate groups or channels to bring in collaborators or others we’re working with for projects. We also use Skype for conference calling in voice, and we use it to keep each other informed about our progress or what we’re working on. And in between the busy periods, it is just as important that you keep in touch, check in, and make the time to pop into our online chats just to say hi, and that helps everyone feel and stay connected as a team, even when the pace of the work may slow down.

And Finally, Enjoy the Work and Have Fun!

Hopefully this introduction helps give you a sense of the kind of culture and the work style and flow that we want to encourage. We take our work seriously, but we love what we do and have a ton of fun doing it – and we hope you will too!

At the end of the day, we hope you’re here because you really want to be, not because you have to be. As a non-profit organization, we are fortunate to be driven by our ideals and our passion for AvaCon’s mission, rather than being driven solely by the bottom line, and we firmly believe that the only way we can make the emerging metaverse a better place is to be the change that we seek – by working together virtually in better ways than we could work together even if we were all in the same physical place.

Ideally, you’ll have the opportunity at AvaCon to work the way you want to work, and to learn and grow with us as we help shape the metaverse of the future. Welcome again and you can move on to the next page for information about working from home!