1 year at Park Hill — How it’s helped us change
We’ve been in our new home up here at the glorious Park Hill Redevelopment for one year now. It’s taken some time for us to settle in, but it certainly feels like ‘home’ these days.
The new space has certainly had an impact on our company as a whole — and addressed various issues that we were experiencing. Here’s a brief look at how this space has enriched and supported our business.
Where were we before?
Hive IT were initially located in the Electric Works just over the road from Park Hill. The space suited us for a long time: close to the station, central to town, adaptable to our needs on the most part.
In 2017/8 the Electric Works offices were in demand, our corner office was lovely, but we couldn’t grow any more than we already had, and we needed to. At the same time, we wanted our own space that we could really adapt to our own needs- like hosting multiple clients on site concurrently as well as expanding our User Research offering by having a dedicated User Testing Lab. This was a feature that had long been on our business roadmap but never become a reality because of our available space.
And so we began looking for a space that could support our business growth long term.
How come Park Hill?
There were so many things that we as a team loved about the Electric Works, its centrality being a key as many of our staff come from all over the city. We wanted somewhere that was just as easy for staff and clients to get to us (literally a 5 min walk from the station) and maintained our presence in Sheffield. When Andy Mayer approached us about the space at Park Hill we immediately took the opportunity to take a look around.
Park Hill offices, whilst close to the Electric Works in location, are very very different. The space is open, light and full of air — with concrete brutalism countered by clean white lines.
The opportunities for the different uses of the vast space (the office is split over 2 large floors), the availability to open a User Research Lab and the ability to host our own events (or on behalf of other organisations) were massively appealing to us and the growth of our business offering. We also really liked the mix of businesses and housing on site — which meant that we were talking to and engaging with people that weren’t all in the Creative Digital Industries. And so, in early June 2018 — we took the massive leap of relocating.
1 year In…
We’ve learnt a lot having been here for nearly a year.
There are some quirks for sure, the seasonal weather makes the office interesting to balance temperature wise! The sound travels amazingly well round the two floors, it can be hard to find us (we’re working on this!) and the stress of moving shouldn’t be underestimated!
But the benefits that this space has given us have blown our expectations out of the water.
- We now hold regular client workshops in our dedicated space downstairs. We’ve had up to 40 people using the space at any one time during sketching workshops and persona definitions. At the same time, it can be made to work with 4 or 5 people in a workshop without feeling overwhelmingly large. It’s more versatile than we ever expected.
- We realised our goal of having a dedicated Usability Lab with varying levels of packages to suit a wide range of requirements. We can adapt to suit the clients needs and have worked to make the space comfortable, contained and usable.
- We’ve been able to co-host events supporting local businesses and charities to match our Tech4Good initiative. They’re hard work to plan and cater for, but the feedback we get is positive and always makes it worthwhile.
- We’ve been able to grow — we’ve hired new people since moving without having to worry where we would squeeze them in. The space has also meant that we now regularly have clients & contractors working on site with us which for some of our recent projects has been invaluable to building strong team ethos’ and shared visions.
- We genuinely believe that the office indoor and outdoor space has helped contribute to improving mental health and well being. The natural light that the huge windows offer is scientifically proven to benefit your health. On one side of the office we have a view of (and access to) green trees and landscaped lawns with wild flowers and an abundance of wildlife (we regularly see the peregrines hunting), on the other you can feel part of the heart of Sheffield with its amazing views of the city.
We certainly don’t plan on going through the upheaval of moving any time soon, and we shouldn’t need to. With the further developments occurring round the site, the areas appeal and community should only strengthen over time. We’re proud to be part of the regeneration of this area, and look forwards to seeing how the future pans out. For now, we’ll just try and make it easier to find us!