Hotdesk space in Birmingham City Centre

(Connie Wan) #1

Hi All,

I’m looking into the possibility of converting one of our rooms into a ‘hot desking’ suite but before I investigate further, I’d like to know that there is a market for it! It would be on a monthly subscription basis with access potentially from 9am to 10pm. Any comments or ideas?


(Stuart Langridge) #2

Speaking purely for myself, having somewhere I might occasionally drop into for a day or for a meeting would be useful but I wouldn’t subscribe. But… firstly I’m clearly not your market, and secondly I’m aware that a facility which provided what I want exclusively would be an unbelieveable money pit and wouldn’t work :slight_smile: I am interested in which other people would be interested in such a thing, though, so I shall watch for more helpful answers!

(Andy Wootton) #3

As you probably already suspect, I think it’s a great idea :slight_smile:

I see 2 markets: 1 is an alternative to renting an office. The monthly fee will suit those people but not someone who is only in Brum for a meeting occasionally and when you are competing with a coffee shop which is free.

Have you worked out the relationship of this service to membership fees and WiFi access from the library or members rooms? Do you want to use hot-desking to boost membership or as an income stream, like room rental?

My requirements:
If I’m going to an evening Meetup that starts 6pm+ but I catch a train before 4 so the price is lower, I’d like somewhere to call in and get some work done, preferably with a cup of coffee, but the tea room closes too early. The library and members’ room are fine but don’t have many power sockets but as an out-of-town member I can get that for 50p per week and hardly have to think about whether I should renew, even though I’ve only used it 3 or 4 times so far.

It would be nice to meet up for an informal chat with people from this community without organising a fully-blown meeting that needs rooms with projectors etc. but most of our Meetups don’t charge anything so there is no-one to pay the fee. Such chats might require a different space, separate from ‘the quiet room’. It overlaps with your room-hire model.

The last couple of requests I’ve seen were people coming in for a day and wanting somewhere to work. The original Internet Cafes were access for an hour or two per drink. What about contactless card swipe-in for a fee, for a limited period, with an optional voucher for a drink?

We have meetings in pubs and offices around town that could bring new audiences to your building and I think there are members of the community who would be willing to talk to new audiences about tech in a fun way, rather than only talking to each other, e.g. to school parties to give you new income streams from meetings, in return for your building feeling like tech’s home in the city centre. I might be wrong, so please speak up if you’d do a talk to a general audience where you weren’t trying to sell your warez. There might be funding available for such ‘hubs’. There seem a fair number springing up.

(Connie Wan) #4

Thanks for your comments! We do have meeting spaces but I recognise that not everyone wants a room for a whole day or 4 hours. Unfortunately we need a model that can offer us a more secure, reliable income!

(Connie Wan) #5

I wouldn’t have expected anything less Andy!

This subscription hotdesking will be separate from our membership scheme (I am also looking at different tiers of membership) and will fill a gap in our rental income when the Conservatoire students leave next year. I’m considering options that have low initial start-up costs for us, but will have the potential to become self-sustaining. We have a small room upstairs on the top floor that could make a potential hotdesk space; it has adjoining rooms for meetings. I think one of the problems with our current model is that we don’t offer hire by the hour. Mainly because we know a lot of people won’t be out within the hour, plus it would make our existing model ever-more confusing. However, having said that, perhaps the smaller rooms will be more suited for hourly hire?

Our AGM is on 16 January Andy - pop along and ask these awkward questions!!

(Andy Wootton) #6

I’ll try but that date seems worryingly familiar.

‘Founded by Act of Parliament in 1854, for “the Diffusion and Advancement of Science, Literature and Art amongst all Classes of Persons resident in Birmingham and the Midland Counties,” the B.M.I. continues to pursue these aims.’

Questions like: 'Where does it say “room hire” '?

I’m not being critical. I know the first priority has to be to keep the patient alive but with all those competing universities, you’re the perfect neutral territory for them to show off to each other and pull in some ‘science punters’. There must be some rational people who don’t drink, so can’t go to Skeptics in the Pub, PubhD or the Pint of Science festival.

(Connie Wan) #7

That’s exactly what it does. We have only been in this building since the 1960s and having acquired it, we realised we had a lotta rooms to fill. The income from our room hire supports our cultural programme and also covers for the upkeep of the building.

(Steve Jalim) #8

When setting pricing, you can look at some competing spaces on

(Steve Pitchford) #9

I wouldn’t say I was uninterested - put it that way.

I guess some of the questions would be around:

  • Network quality
  • Cost
  • Flexibility
  • Can it act as a mailbox / registered company address?
  • Sense of security
  • Weekend access
  • Comfort
  • Contention ( ie number of seats rented against those available )
  • Availability of meeting rooms, refreshments etc
  • Overflow facilities should a desk not be available.

If I could pay a basic retainer that got me a limited amount of access with the option to buy more on top ( perhaps levels of subscription for varying nominated days access with a top up fee for more should there be capacity ) then it would sound like something potentially not uninteresting to me…


(Connie Wan) #10

Hi Steve, thanks for this,lots of food for thought. Regarding the subscription, there is potential to establish a basic monthly rolling subscription (desk access, 9-5, Mon - Fri) with add-ons such as meeting room use, extended hours (we’re open 6 days, 9am - 10pm). Would you mind if I asked what your working routine is currently? Connie

(Marc Jenkins) #11

I’d potentially be interested too. I’m looking for somewhere to work for 2-3 days a week, so it would depend on cost as well as some of the factors @Steve_Pitchford mentioned.

(Andy Wootton) #12

@bmi1854 Would anyone who joined as a member now be in time to come to the AGM?

It costs me less than 50p per week. It’s worth it just to say “my club in town” occasionally :slight_smile: and to feel unjustifiably cultured.

(Stuart Langridge) #13

There’s Colmore Club in town too, which I’ve occasionally debated joining for similar reasons :slight_smile:

(Andy Wootton) #14

I won’t join anything that describes itself as “exclusive”, for similar reasons to Groucho Marx [ not Oscar Wilde, as I originally suggested. ]

B&MI explicitly declares itself to be for the likes of me “all Classes of Persons resident in Birmingham and the Midland Counties,” but mainly retired head teachers and academics at the moment, I’d guess :slight_smile: - which keeps the riff raff out. I admit that apple pie for £7 at Colmore Club might do that too. They can probably get a thimble of champagne in Grand Central at that price AND be seen drinking it.

(Steve Pitchford) #15

Hi Connie,

Happy to discuss off list or in person


(Stuart Langridge) #16

By definition, anything calling itself “exclusive” provides a service of excluding some people; that’s what “exclusive” means :slight_smile:

(Connie Wan) #17

Hello everyone, thank you for all of your useful comments. I think the best way forward would be to hold a focus-group type thing in the new year if anyone is interested in discussing ideas. Anyone game? I can provide caffeine and biscuits, plus perhaps a tour of our building.

(Andy Wootton) #18

Can we ‘workshop’? I haven’t workshopped for ages! You may have to exclude @sil for a bit, so he wants to join more.

(Andy Wootton) #19

It works. It keeps me out.

(Marc Cooper) #20

Man, we could grumpy old men it well into the night. Velvet slippers, port, cigars and all.[quote=“Woo, post:18, topic:2985”]
Can we ‘workshop’? I haven’t workshopped for ages!

I think the kids these day “blue sky” or “brown paper bag”.