What is a satellite office? (Including benefits and tips)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 20 September 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Satellite branch offices can help businesses create a traditional working environment for employees whilst still having a remote workforce. These branches are like main offices, having similar resources and tools but are typically smaller and in locations that are more convenient for employees. Understanding more about this concept can help you decide whether you want to set one up and explain how to manage this type of office properly. In this article, we look at what a satellite office is, where to establish one, the benefits they provide and tips on how to manage one effectively.
What is a satellite office?
A satellite office is a working environment separate from central headquarters. An organisation typically establishes this type of office in a strategic location so that employees working remotely can access resources. Depending on the requirements of the business, these offices vary in size and capabilities, as some may have only a few employees while others have hundreds.
These offices are excellent for maintaining connections with geographically dispersed workforces, as they offer tools, support and resources in a location away from the main office. This enables employees working remotely to collaborate with their colleagues in person, which can be good for morale and productivity.
Where are these offices located?
Each organisation can decide where it wants to establish its offices but many choose strategic locations close to their remote-working employees. If there's a large concentration of employees in one part of the country, a business may establish an office there. For example, if the organisation's main office is in the south of the country but many of its staff work remotely in the north, the company might find it beneficial to set up a satellite office in the north to facilitate greater cooperation and more face-to-face contact among employees. Some organisations might consider other factors when establishing such offices.
For example, a business might want to penetrate a market in a new location and have a physical presence in the area to help it achieve this. Businesses consider many factors when determining the site of an office, such as cost efficiency and the best locations to boost employee productivity. Companies may also consider where the main talent pools are if they want to hire new employees. A satellite allows them to move closer to these talent pools, reducing the commute time for potential recruits and gaining a competitive edge in talent acquisition.
Benefits of a satellite office
Setting up one of these offices can be beneficial in many ways, such as:
Increasing employee productivity
For businesses with remote-working staff, providing a nearby office gives employees opportunities to meet with their peers in person and access resources such as computers and printers. It also provides a professional environment in which they can focus, free from potential distractions in their homes. While some people enjoy working from home, others may find it challenging, for example, if they have pets or young children. These employees might benefit from having an office nearby. With the right environment, resources and support, employees' productivity can often increase if they have access to an office.
Improving customer interaction capabilities
Having a satellite in a location away from the business's main office can help a company establish a consumer base in a new area and access a much wider customer base. For example, customers in the north can visit the business premises in their area, whereas the company's main office in the south may be too far for them to travel. In addition, having a presence in many parts of the country can help businesses interact with more people and generate new revenue.
Businesses can reduce costs by using a combination of remote working and satellites to save on rent and utilities. This is because they don't necessarily require resources for every employee daily but only for those who come to the office. Companies call this a floating approach. A company may also decide to implement a turnkey solution by renting an already existing smaller office in a new location. This strategy can be much cheaper than building a new office.
Providing offices in different locations may enable employees to save money on commuting costs and reduce the amount of time they spend travelling. This can give them greater flexibility and allow them to choose between several locations, which could also improve employee satisfaction and retention rates. Customers also benefit from the added flexibility of multiple business locations, as they have more ways to access products and services.
Enabling new market penetration
Businesses often penetrate new markets to grow their networks, raise brand awareness and generate new customers. This helps them stay competitive, increase revenue, foster growth and access new business opportunities. For example, if a business sells power tools in the south, it may establish a new office in the north to access a different audience. Doing so can widen the business's customer base, leading to increased sales.
Promoting company culture
Keeping employees in face-to-face contact with each other might foster and promote a unifying company culture. This is an important consideration for businesses with many employees who work remotely, as individuals may form different working habits and new attitudes when they work away from each other. Hosting regular team meetings in an office, for example, can help to promote the company culture consistently.
Tips for managing satellite offices
Here are some suggestions for managing a satellite office effectively:
Create a community
Staff members may want to work in an office so they can participate in a community of employees working towards achieving common goals and creating personal connections. Managers can help in this process by facilitating community-oriented activities, such as team-building exercises and social events. For example, you could organise a weekly team meeting where team members can discuss topics of their choosing, including conversations unrelated to work.
Many people work better with the support of their colleagues, as working together in person enables them to share and discuss ideas. This is especially important when teams are working on projects. Office managers can encourage collaboration between employees by assigning team goals and creating a system for measuring and rewarding progress. Common objectives may include reaching a particular number of sales or new sign-ups. Businesses can also maintain collaboration using communication and teamwork software, enabling efficient communication with remote employees.
Interact with the public
Establishing offices in new markets increases the capability of team members to interact with the public. Managers can help facilitate these interactions by developing community engagement activities and establishing a presence at public events. For instance, many cities host events highlighting local businesses in which members of satellite branches can participate. Also, businesses can invite members of the public who live near an office to participate in company events, like product launches. This can help the business develop good customer relationships in new locations.
Managers can support the flexibility that satellite branch offices provide by creating production-related goals that emphasise employee independence. For instance, instead of requesting that employees be in the office for a specific period, managers could ask that staff complete a particular number of important tasks each week on site. This gives employees more control over their own schedules while still adhering to a standard of productivity.
Organise networking opportunities
Managers can also facilitate interactions with other businesses located near the company's offices. Networking with local businesses has many benefits, such as developing new partnerships, including vendor or supplier relationships. These networking opportunities create value for organisations and are a clear benefit of satellite offices.
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