It all starts with garage, where good things happen

 

How do you start a company that provides great workplace experience combined with the first class hospitality services?

In a Toronto garage bordering beautiful High Park with few fellows bringing together grit, expertise, and experience.

This is the story about Hivers Workspaces. We will try to keep our storytelling concise and meaningful, and this is the first chapter about our quest to create a unique workplace and hospitality establishment.

Why Hivers?

Hiver(s) is a term popularly used in the 17th century to define “someone who keeps beehives”. We looked for answers in nature and found that bees offer many insights as how a human working hive should be sized, built, and organized. For example, western honey bees prefer nest cavities approximately 45 litres in volume and avoid those smaller than 10 or larger than 100 litres.

In essence, our company hopes to address one of the major downsides in the office as a service industry. The current model often works for big metropolitan centers like Toronto or Vancouver, but fails short in addressing needs of smaller, suburban communities that need such spaces and related services as well.

Our first decision was to move away from the downtown metropolitan core where all the “action” seems to take place. We are certain that Hivers Workspaces can work in places like Collingwood or Guelph just like in Toronto or Vancouver, and we look to provide much needed office, meeting, and special event space for such communities.

The second decision was to bring nature to the workplace. All our office furnishings are hand made in Canada from 100 % wood sourced from sustainable resources, and complemented by the best in ergonomic and office design. Moreover, plants are welcome species in the Sherway Hive and essential cohabitants that work miracles only for a little bit of water and some love.

Last, but not the least, our mission goes beyond the business itself.  “Loss of insect diversity and abundance is expected to provoke cascading effects on food webs and to jeopardize ecosystem services“, and we are looking to become ambassadors for a very just cause, and wish to help raise awareness about the impact of insect loss on our food supply.

End result, we hope,  is boutique office as a service company that will connect work with convenience and flexibility across Canada’s small and medium business sector. Along the way we will incorporate the best green design / build practices, combined with the latest developments from the hospitality and tech world.

Stay tuned and visit the Sherway Gardens hive. Please contact us to schedule your tour.

We provide short and long term office, conference, and special event space rentals with all amenities and managed hospitality services.

Hivers Workspaces – Where work and hospitality coincide

 

It takes a bee to get the honey out

 

“Honey comes out of the air….At early dawn the leaves of trees are found bedewed with honey…. Whether this is the perspiration of the sky or a sort of saliva of the stars, or the moisture of the air purging itself, nevertheless it brings with it the great pleasure of its heavenly nature. It is always of the best quality when it is stored in the best flowers.”

Hard to beat Pliny at depicting nature. He collected much of the knowledge of his time comprised in 37 books. His sources were personal experience, his own prior works, and extracts from other works. Hard core dude called nowadays.

We are happy to announce that we formed the partnership with the Ontario Bee Association  and became an outlet from where you can buy Ontario produced honey as well as maple and birch syrup. John from Tasty Food and Spices is helping us set up the shop and brings along years of corporate executive experience turned into honey passion. He will be an essential link and lead our honey and syrup department with years of community involvement and experience. On a serious note, he will help us spread the message and make local products available to our customers.

In return, we will become an indoor honey market for a day and so for every season in a year, giving opportunity to our local producers to mingle with our workspaces customers as well as Toronto public. Meet,  taste, and buy pure Ontario nectar. Eventually, honey, maple, and birch syrup from all over the Great North will become the central theme in our e-commerce and brand marketing efforts. We hope to help connect more Canadian consumers with local producers of some of the healthiest and purest forms of nature’s goods.

Do you know where your supermarket honey comes from?

Naturally, we will use Shopify  e-commerce platform together with their POS services to provide superior and seamless customer experience, both in our hives as well as digital world. Hopefully, we can become their shared and collaborative spaces solutions partner one day too, and help them design and build something unique in their new 254,000 square feet downtown office under construction.

For now, you will have to visit us to get some honey and maple syrup, sourced from 5 different local producers at the moment. Bonus: First 5 honey customers get free Hivers branded shirt and the coffee / tea mug.  Soon our apparel and gear as well as “Hivers Nature’s Best” line of  products will be available to Canadian public and all the lovers of good things made in Canada around the world.

So this is the story about how it takes a bee to get the honey out. That bee is John who was kind enough to come and help us on the path to create a unique Canadian workplace experience.

Now you know the story about the Why, Baltic Birch and a Bee. One about the hives is still  in writing.

Stay tuned for our first winter festival of honey coming soon. In the meantime stop by for a complementary coffee or tea and a free tour.

Hivers Workspaces – Where work and hospitality coincide

 

Waggle dance and the Hive

 

Creating a new shared workspace environment is just like foragers starting a waggle dance. It is nature of business, belief that one can do it different and better, and it triggers continuous search for a hive that will flourish. Every day we learn something new and share information about the direction and distance to patches of flowers yielding nectar and pollen.

Ideas are readily available from established collaborative working spaces, related industry literature, online resources and studies, word of mouth, and anything in between. It is often difficult to sift through all that data and find the guiding light in foggy waters.  We were lucky to come across this invaluable resource in early stages, Planning Office Spaces: A Practical Guide for Managers and Designers , which is still helping us on the quest for the ultimate workplace experience.

We could not better define workspace objective and the book offers an excellent insight into planning, designing, and managing of collaborative spaces. Ideas on how to build Hivers Workspaces were in large borrowed from this book. It also provides an excellent framework for narrative, and we will use it to reflect on first building and now managing flex office spaces.

This post is the introduction into the nine part series about the the workspace objectives and how they shape office as a service industry, namely

  • Enhance Productivity
  • Reduce Cost
  • Increase Flexibility
  • Encourage Interaction
  • Support Cultural Change
  • Stimulate Creativity
  • Attract and Retain Staff
  • Express the Brand
  • Reduce Environmental Impact

While researching available business models, we focused on what makes companies such as Industrious and Spaces different and successful. Borrowing the same bee and hex branding imagery, arguably some of the best examples in the industry, we decided to embrace their business storytelling and take it to the “next flex” level.

On the other hand, selecting wood, and using the birch plywood to design and manufacture everything from office walls, conference tables, ergonomic adjustable desks, reception to bar makes us the first office as a service company that integrated manufacturing as essential and complementary component in the shared spaces business model. It will not only help set our stores apart, but offer eco friendly and price competitive alternative for office furnishings that is made in Canada, and help any company design and furnish their workspaces as well.

This is the foundation to become a modern domestic manufacturing company that changed shared and flex office service model for better. Opendesk lends ideas as why this makes sense, and we hope to become a part of their global network as well.

From the start our plan was to look around, learn from the best and entrepreneur a company that will rival anyone in industry if not with valuation than with vision.

For example, we selected our first location on the business principle called “Follow the Siren”, now our coined term. Yes, it is Starbucks, located steps away from our shared offices, not one, but the cluster of four Starbucks stores in a very small radius, and the school of Sirens luring us with their enchanting music and singing voices to shipwreck our hive on the rocky coast off their island. And we did it.

Our goal is to create a network of conveniently located and company operated office and special event venues around the Greater Toronto Area at first, provide professional business products and services to corporate office clients, and eventually form partnerships that will help landlords lease underutilized real estate.

Please support Toronto public libraries. They are in large part responsible for this venture. Internet can be often gated wall of knowledge, and your library is the only way to get access to some of the most current and relevant works in the industry, a walk away, and an invaluable and free tool to learn and become an entrepreneur. Below is just one library list of books we borrowed on this journey, showing some gems that helped us on the path to create this new and unique shared workspace environment.

Hivers Workspaces – Where work and hospitality coincide