Hot desk, Cool wines

Working from home sounds like such bliss … until you’ve been doing it for 6 years, in which case you may start to adopt a hermit-like loathing of having to leave the cave (aka home office) or you might have gone more than slightly mad from the lack of interaction with other adults. Coping mechanisms vary, and mine has been to delve deep into the social interactive pool of twitter, facebook, etc … which creates great conversations and lots of business opportunities.


However, what it doesn’t offer is a lot of experiences, chance meetings and observations … the kind of stuff that feeds a blog for example.

There will be a lot of discussion of remote working (such as this piece from The Next Web), particularly with the disruption caused by the Olympics in London, this year, but I’m seriously considering the opposite. 

I’d love to rediscover some level of “office time” but where to do this? After all, it is rather wasteful considering I already have an office.

I love the idea of TechHub which I visited recently to take part in a Social Media Week presentation organised by the lovely folks Great British Chefs (cool use of storify for the wrap-up), but I’m not a developer and I suspect that this is not my natural crowd (though I bet they like their wine too).

As I read another newsletter from a friendly wine retailer today announcing the new wines being added to their enomatic machine, it came to me.

I am looking for a wine shop that has some spare desk space, good internet connection and friendly banter that I can rent as a “hot desk” from time to time. 

 This could be a new business model … retail shops with hot desks for relevant freelance communicators that need occasional offices, like a “members club with retail benefits”.

Anyone out there got any invitations?

UPDATE 22/2/2012: Thank you to all those great folks who are responding privately and publicly on this idea. Something might even come of it soon.

It has come to my attention, however, that “hot desk” may be an unusual term, so if you don’t know what I mean, see the definition here 

  • Nathan Meyers

    Robert, this is a great idea.I’m totally with you on the work from home thing – I’ve been doing it for 10 years, ever since I left school. You get to know when it’s time to invite someone out for coffee when you start brainstorming out loud :-)I’m working in a very similar environment as you mention, which came about out of sheer luck and a lovely local independent just 5mins away. I offered to do some closing shifts for them to ‘get in’ and this couldn’t have worked out better (I am just 5mins walk away). I get to interact with my Battersea neighbours and I get the stock for http://nathanswineshop and events from them too. Plus, I do art/supper events on the premises as also get to interact with suppliers that come in with new wines.I think if you discuss this with a friendly place (I know how much you guys liked Artisan & Vine) you can add value to their business by bringing people in as a blogger and in turn get a great work/social environment out of it.That’s worthwhile ‘office time’ in my opinion.Nathan

  • David Lowe

    Have you spoken to The Sampler in Kensington? They’ve got loads of space that they might be willing to loan you. You better top up that sampling card though!!

  • Robert McIntosh

    Funnily enough they were pretty much who I had in mind as I typed this, but I don’t really know them well enough to ask. I am not sure about the space there as I have not seen their offices and I know they have converted the downstairs room to a wine bar or events space. Really this is just fishing to see what happens – you never know. In fact I may already have one option in the works 🙂

  • richardross

    I’m often surprised how many people use the prosaic surroundings of Starbucks branches as their de facto offices. Now that can’t be good for creative inspiration … I much prefer your plan.

  • Robert McIntosh

    True, and dangerous – I’ve followed a number of tweet streams by people who are listening in to conversations and so on in such places because being a coffee shop (or train, etc) and a public space, you never know who else is listening!I must say that it is better than nothing, especially if you are in a place like London and have gaps between meetings/events in your day. However, I would be willing to take a 30 minute tube ride to a “hot desk” instead of the hour plus back home only to have to turn around and go back. Probably a lot cheaper too.Plus, while you are there you hear about wines, trade gossip, get a chance to taste new stuff, etc…In fact this idea has a bigger potential aspect which I am also exploring with someone so watch this space!! 🙂

  • richardross