Building a safer space at Sharetribe

Our safer space guidelines help us build a workplace where everyone is free to be themselves.

Dec 8, 2022

Rows of colorful umbrellas hang and form a roof above an old-timey street. Light shines from between and through the umbrellas, casting the street in a soft light. Photo by Helen Cheng on Unsplash.
Sari has long light-brown hear and bangs and she's wearing a striped shirt with a slightly puffy collar. She's smiling at the camera.
Sari Saariaho
Developer Advocate
Vesa Vahermaa
Customer Advocate

No one can define what safety means to others. But we can work together for a safer work environment, where everyone feels comfortable and free to be themselves. In this post, we discuss the concept of safer space and our safer space guidelines, which we use to achieve and maintain an environment of psychological safety at Sharetribe. These guidelines were created as a part of our 2022 diversity, equity, and inclusion effort.

What is a safer space?

A safer space is an environment where our values (integrity, candor, kindness, purpose before profit, and balance) can flourish. It is a supportive environment for work and social interaction. In a safer space, everyone should feel free to be themselves without the fear of being judged. 

A safer space does not mean an environment where everyone has to be open about all aspects of their identity and experiences. Rather, a safer space environment gives people an opportunity to do so if they wish. 

A safer space, by definition, can’t be perfect. Like any social environment, it is created by people, and people make mistakes. Instead, it's a guideline that helps us do our best to make Sharetribe a great place to work for everyone – and discuss any mistakes we make and find solutions.

Sharetribe’s safer space guidelines 

We assume good intent.

We avoid making assumptions about people’s identities and experiences.

We respect everyone’s boundaries. If we aren’t sure about their boundaries, we find out what they are. 

We respect people’s opinions, beliefs, experiences, and differing points of view, as well as everyone’s indivisible human dignity.

We treat everyone as a person who matters, equally and respectfully. 

We consider calling someone in or calling them out if they misstep.

We are conscious of the space we take up in conversations and take care that everyone has opportunities to express themselves and understand the topic at hand. We amplify the voices of the underrepresented.

We respect confidentiality. If we don’t know a person’s preferences regarding the confidentiality of a topic, we find out what they are.

We try to notice and question potentially harmful standards, such as having the same person constantly be responsible for chores that they do not want to do.

We depersonalize conflict by talking about behaviors and actions instead of individual characteristics.

Why do we have these guidelines?

Psychological safety is essential to a workplace where everyone feels comfortable creating, contributing, and connecting with colleagues.

As a company, our goal is to create teams that are diverse. We want to increase the likelihood that people experience psychological safety regardless of identity or background. Having safer space guidelines helps us be considerate of each other and supports our company culture while allowing individuals to have privacy around their identities.

We trust that our team members are kind and responsible. Thus, we want to have something for them to lean on if someone behaves in a tactless way. If these situations arise, we want to bring them up, whether or not it affects us personally. The safer space guidelines help team members approach these (potentially difficult) discussions with compassion. 

A safer space is always being made. With kind and candid conversation, respect, and consideration, we learn more about each other’s differences, similarities, and needs.

Article photo by Helen Cheng on Unsplash.

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