I hope this isn't stretching the original point of this post too far, but I'd like to see the idea of "office hours" taking off, whether linked to the volunteer role or not.
I'll be honest — I don't always feel comfortable going up to someone I don't know, who is clearly there working hard on a project, and asking them to take 15 minutes of their valuable time to show me how to use a piece of equipment.
Additionally, our classes, while wonderful, have no regularly recurring schedule. If I see "Intro to Welding" offered in the near future and I have plans that day, I have no idea if the next welding class will be a month out or a year out. Same is true for any of the "101" classes for a given focus area. Instructors donate their precious time to teach, so we can't expect them to commit to teaching a particular class at a pre-defined interval. However, the existence of these "101" classes provides a foothold into a given part of the makerspace by allowing members to at least make the acquaintance of someone who knows an area well. Office hours would allow those who are experts but are unable or unwilling to teach classes to help share their knowledge with others in a less formal setting.
I envision those serving office hours as separate from volunteers. Those members choosing to serve office hours in a given area are decidedly NOT the same person as the volunteer on duty. They have no requirement to answer phones, give tours, etc. Instead, they are there to populate a particular part of the space and to answer questions, give project advice (when asked), or provide ad-hoc training on equipment within the space.
They could be compensated for their time just like volunteers are. Those serving office hours would be of course free to work on their own projects (in their designated area) if no one is around to work with, but the expectation would be that they drop their project if someone comes in asking for help.
Office hour sessions would also be easier to staff if not directly linked to a volunteer shift, and it would be up to each area's available experts to choose time(s) each week (which should be well-publicized). Probably 2-4 hours per week per area would be sufficient.
As an added benefit, the set of experts in a given area would sense the pulse of an area's needs and wants, and could advise the Board on purchases, dispositions, training needs, or risks associated with that area. This is probably already happening, albeit informally.