When companies establish a presence in a new location, they opt for satellite offices to accommodate staff and reduce overheads. From location to employee workplace needs, there’s a lot to consider before expanding your reach. Here’s the 101 on opening a satellite office.
Satellite Office Definition
A satellite or branch office is an additional workspace of a larger company that is physically separate from its headquarters, meaning a company can conduct business from multiple locations. Satellite offices range in size and can house anywhere from a few to hundreds of employees.
Say you occupy headquarters in New York; you can set up a satellite office in Chicago or even offshore. A satellite location should offer convenience and be a central meeting place for employees who work in remote geographic locations.
Top 4 Businesses That Need a Satellite Office
A satellite office benefits any company strategically growing its business. Businesses keen to know how to open a satellite office will typically want to expand for the following reasons:
Companies That Are Growing
The cost of relocating a rapidly expanding team of staff may be something your business can’t afford. While flexible work-from-home schedules alleviate the stress on real estate space needed per employee, opening a branch office ensures you get the most leverage from your current office while comfortably onboarding new employees.
Businesses Seeking to Expand Their Geography
Companies looking to expand their business in new target markets benefit from having a branch office in those areas. Successfully acquiring new target markets often means having local connections and understanding the local culture. Moreover, governments still require companies to have a physical address, and a physical space gives a business identity.
While a significant amount of business can be done online, having a branch office establishes a physical presence. It signifies a degree of in-person professional that’s difficult to emulate online, especially when you’re trying to acquire businesses in a foreign setting.
Companies Looking to Cross-Pollinate
Apple and Hermes, Spotify and Starbucks, Ikea and DreamWorks — these are just some top brand collaborations. Cross-pollination, the process of combining intellectual capital, can solve business challenges and improve revenue. While consumers tend to think of it as two companies working together to produce a new product, cross-pollination extends to operations and ideation, too.
Companies looking to cross-pollinate will often situate satellite offices in coworking spaces that foster collaboration, even if they rent private offices. Being in a dynamic start-up hub fosters organic networking in a receptive community. For example, you might learn there’s a digital agency in your building to whom you can outsource your eCommerce website design.
Businesses Looking for Specific Employees
In certain industries, hiring the right talent requires a satellite location, meaning that you need to meet potential employees where they are. The seismic shift to working from home has also placed greater pressure on employers to find incentives that attract the caliber of talent they need.
Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood are ubiquitous for having a particular type of talent that serves industries located in those areas. Having a satellite office near a particular candidate pool or industry will be advantageous, especially if you’re hiring in a competitive market.
It’s entirely possible for your company to establish multiple branch offices among top talent pools across the US or even on a global scale. Take a look at a company like Netflix, for example. They have satellite offices all over the globe, enabling them to hire top talent who service foreign markets.
6 Benefits of a Satellite Office
Flexibility, a larger market reach, lower overheads, and limitless opportunity are some satellite office benefits that are hard for thriving businesses to pass up.
Save Commute Time
Satellite offices in central locations save employee interoffice travel time. Some companies have multiple branch offices in the same city as their headquarters, so less time is wasted getting to-and-from work—the more convenient the location, the higher employee morale and possible working hours.
Setting up a satellite office in a coworking space increases the likelihood of meeting like-minded companies and becomes a natural incentive for business development. Interacting with entrepreneurs and businesses from diverse industries and sectors can lead to exciting opportunities, inspire your current team, and provide a sense of community.
If your business mandate is to expand into international markets, then a preliminary satellite office can help test the waters. Businesses that have a physical presence tend to have a stronger foothold in the market they’re expanding into, as opposed to those operating remotely. Understanding consumer habits and cultural nuances are often easier if you’re working in the same location as your new market.
In today’s job market, physical workspace is a key recruitment tool, including the satellite office, meaning if the location is excellent, you can compete for top talent. If it’s terrible, you may lose some of the best workers to businesses with better offices.
Because a large part of knowledge-based professionals can and do already work from home, companies have to have impressive draw cards to convince them to commute. So, you need to consider what makes your workspace attractive. Some benefits may include:
- Gym facilities to cultivate a healthy lifestyle
- Located within a bustling neighborhood with grocery stores, restaurants, and entertainment
- Close to public transportation and key highways
- Amenities to look after children
- 24/7 access to enable flexible work
- The opportunity to work in a satellite office in another country or region
What does a satellite office mean for your bottom line? It’s ultimately cheaper. Some companies want offices in prime locations to establish or maintain a physical presence but can’t afford to pay the price. Therefore, they may set up headquarters in a cheaper location and a satellite office in a prime business district to cut costs. This works particularly well if staff assigned to satellite offices can work remotely, reducing the square feet needed per person.
On a day-to-day basis, you may not think much about your address, but having your postal code in a residential area or using your home address doesn’t send out the most professional image. It seems superficial, but addresses are like first impressions. Having a reputable satellite address can make a big difference when acquiring new clients and critical investor meetings. Don’t forget; your business address says a lot about you and the type of company you run.
10 Things to Consider Before Setting Up a Satellite Office
A satellite office can work in two ways; supplement your head office or replace it entirely. Below are a few factors to consider:
Every company has specific tech infrastructure needs. Make sure that where you decide to set up shop can accommodate your operational requirements. Beyond fast and reliable WI-FI, you may also want to think about the following:
- Does your company require a server room?
- Will you need to host video conferences or remote meetings regularly?
- Is it important to have a private area for confidential conversations?
- Do you have tech-heavy workstations that need to be housed in a securely locked office?
An animation company’s needs will differ from that of a law firm. Make sure you fully understand your tech needs before signing the lease for a workspace. No matter how appealing the office may seem, it needs to service your company’s productivity.
One of the main satellite office benefits should always be central location and easy access. Your branch office needs to be near major highways and public transport hubs. It should have off-street parking and be within reasonable distance to employees’ residential areas. Another frequently overlooked aspect regarding accessibility is making sure your office is ADA compliant.
Rental fees vary in different cities and countries. Budget is always the deciding factor when it comes to selecting a location, but even so, there are variables to consider. Cheaper rent may mean a less desirable location, more expensive rent may mean less profit. These nuances are important to address. And of course, even when you do find reasonable rent, ensure you know exactly what the fee does and doesn’t cover.
Not only do you need to calculate how many square feet you require per employee (including common areas), you also need to consider the interior design and the possibility of scaling up. Selecting an office space with the possibility to expand is always a gigantic plus, as it saves the trouble and cost of moving if and when your business grows.
Having a regional, national, or international footprint sounds appealing, but needs to be grounded in honest goals. Before taking on the extra expense of opening a branch office, you should clarify the following:
- Does it fit in with your company’s larger goals?
- Do you want to increase revenue by tapping into another market?
- Are you trying to attract talent?
- Is this to meet new demands of employee flexibility?
- Are you looking to set up a collaborative working hub?
- Do you currently have the budget to take on additional expenses?
- How will a satellite office affect current workflow and operations?
- What’s your timeline to determine whether a branch office is successful?
- Which departments and employees will work at the branch office?
You’re probably familiar with Harold Samuel’s famous phrase, “location, location, location.” As mentioned earlier, location plays a role in business image and establishing a strong presence in a new market. If you can’t decide, or two locations seem similar, draw up a pros and cons list, weighing up everything from rent prices to collaboration opportunities and customer experience.
Networking can happen at any time of day. That’s why who your neighbors are matters. If you’re a fintech company, you might want to locate yourself near venture capitalist firms; if you’re a start-up, you might want to center your business in a creative hub. No matter how prestigious, every town has areas that are less desirable, so be certain your neighbors can support your image, even if it’s just being located alongside other reputable businesses. No matter your business, you should never overlook the effect that the appearance of surrounding businesses and neighbors may have on brand image.
Today’s businesses need short and long-term flexibility. If you have international clients, you may require a facility with 24/7 access, for example. Additionally, you need to think about long-term growth and whether your branch office can support staff expansion. The commercial leasing market has shifted, and many landlords now offer leases on a month-to-month basis, with options to move to larger offices within the building when a company grows.
Furniture is an essential part of your satellite office. It reflects your company’s ethos and working culture. Planning how much furniture you require, and selecting office decor, takes time. The look and feel of an office space influences employee productivity and comfort levels. And because furniture is usually a semi-permanent fixture, you’ll want to get it right the first time.
If you’re expanding your business across multiple branch offices, then it’s important you find a furniture supplier that can accommodate large regional and/or international orders. Thankfully, a lot of coworking spaces with private offices already come fully furnished, saving companies time and money.
Value-added amenities can sway the acquisition of new talent, and they’re not just reserved for massive corporations. In fact, if you’re competing in the same talent pool as large companies, you’ll need to ensure your workplace is equally attractive. Traditionally, this was challenging for startups on lean budgets, but now many coworking spaces come with a host of desirable amenities, including:
- Fully kitted conference rooms
- Wellness rooms
- An in-house concierge
- Communal kitchen areas
- Tenant lounges
- Gym facilities
- Rooftop terraces
- Parking and bike storage
- Access-secured offices
- HVAC and fiber internet
- Business networking events
- 24/7 access
Expanding to a satellite office requires planning and consideration. Although not without challenges, it can propel your business to new heights. The secret is to take the time needed to strategize the best approach for your business. If you’re looking for a workspace for a satellite office in River North, Chicago, then contact us for a free consultation. We offer turnkey solutions with great satellite office benefits.
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