Montreal | Free field offices for all

Starting Monday, Montreal-area remote workers who want a change of scenery will have outdoor cabins with free Wi-Fi and electricity at their disposal at 22 locations in the capital. Behind this project, the Aire commune you dreamed about dress up In Quebec it’s like “BIXI of teleworking”.

Isabelle Dube

Isabelle Dube

It’s Canada’s first network of outdoor workspaces, as proudly confirms Eyre Co-Founder, Philippe Pelletier, in an interview with Journalism. “With so much of the population finding themselves working remotely, it’s not possible to work outdoors everywhere,” he explains. In the park there are very few picnic tables, the sun prevents us from seeing the computer screen, and there is not necessarily electricity or WiFi. So we developed spaces that meet this need. ”

Until October, access to 23 cabins will be free to all and no reservation at 22 inspiring locations such as the riverside at Lachaine, Olympic Stadium, Little Italy, Downtown and Old Montreal.

Under a durable canvas that resists rain and wind, the design is designed to accommodate two people two meters apart.

Sanitation plants are installed in each cabin and a maintenance team comes every day to disinfect and water the plants.

On its website, the company specifies that the islands have been designed and built in Quebec using FSC-certified wood and using certified environmental suppliers.

The growing popularity of green offices

Aire commune has taken an interest in the outdoor business since its inception in 2017. At that time, the company created Canada’s first outdoor space, located in the Mile End. In three years, more than 175,000 visitors benefited from outdoor tables, umbrellas, and meeting rooms.

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Last year, a cabin installed on the corner of Rue De Gaspé and De Castelnau delighted the locals.

The economic benefits were interesting for nearby companies. The Aire Commune says Mile End’s outdoor office space and the events that took place there before the pandemic generated more than $2 million in spin-off profits annually.

Building on this success, the company dreamed of developing a network of small common areas in the city. Especially since these green desks, according to studies, boost creativity, improve memory, and reduce stress.

Photo Karen Isabel Jane Baptiste, Press

Philip Pelletier, co-founder of the municipality of ER

Large companies from around the world such as Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Google have also created their own external workspaces, in particular to meet the new desire for employee flexibility.

“With the pandemic, it has only reinforced the importance of the network of spaces in which to work outdoors,” says Philippe Pelletier.

By 2025, the company wants to install more than fifty cabins in Montreal and implement its concept elsewhere. Discussions are currently underway with the cities of Toronto and Quebec.

Hybrid business model

“Our business model is not based on user pay,” explains Philippe Pelletier. The goal is not to privatize public spaces or charge the user for WiFi minutes. It is based on a partially hybrid business model with private sector partners. ”

This year, the government of Quebec, Fez, the Kisses Desjardins movement, Deloitte, the Borough of Outremont, the Société des Developments du Boulevard Saint Laurent and the Promenade Wellington are participating in the project.

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In addition to the Summer Islands, the company, which has 20 employees, organizes festive events for networking and the creation of outdoor co-working spaces.

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