A satellite office is a branch of a company that’s physically separate from the organization’s main office. Many coworking spaces can work as a satellite office.
This type of workspace can be located in a different country, thousands of miles away from the primary office, or on the other side of town. A satellite office can range in size from a single desk for an individual employee to a workspace housing hundreds of workers.
Satellite offices exist to solve a slew of problems, and lately, their usefulness has grown to accommodate trends around flexible working. They can create convenience for a company’s remote employees, help cut down on busy commutes, and reduce the number of workers in the main office at any one time.
This type of office can also act as a base camp for expanding into and testing new markets, providing improved customer services at a local level, or strategically position a company to recruit the best talent from an industry hub.
No matter how they’re used, satellite offices can be an important part of any company’s growth. In this article, we’ll look at the types of businesses that use satellite offices to their advantage, as well as some of the benefits and downsides to expanding a company in this way.
Benefits of satellite offices
A satellite office can reduce costs. For companies establishing a presence in a new location, a satellite office hosting a smaller local team is a cheaper alternative to moving a lot of staff around. A satellite office can also reduce staffing costs by allowing you to hire teams in areas with a lower cost of living.
There’s nobody better equipped to make decisions about a local problem than a local team. A satellite office allows a decentralized company to react quickly and appropriately to emergencies and opportunities as soon as they arise, without having to get approval or input from the head office that could be hundreds of miles away.
Take advantage of human resources from different locations
Hiring local talent has clear benefits. You’re not only taking advantage of the knowledge and skills of people who live at the location you’re expanding into, but you open up channels to trusted local contacts, new suppliers, and other resources that might be out of reach to a team working long-distance.
Improve your customer satisfaction
A 2021 survey by Intuit found that the majority (57 percent) of consumers shop locally to keep money in their community, and 38 percent support local businesses to feel closer to their neighbors. Your customers feel a stronger connection to your business when they can see and speak to local teams. That could be a branch of your company in their city or a local customer support team with real knowledge of the area. In either case, the nearer you are to your customers, the more personalized your relationships with them can be.
Offer local benefits to employees
Better perks mean happier employees, and the best perks take advantage of and support other local businesses. A satellite office in a new spot allows you to personalize employee benefits to suit the location. That might mean a free membership to a nearby gym or a bike share program in a city that offers this commuting option.
Types of businesses that use satellite offices
As your teams grow and you hire more staff, there inevitably comes a point where you need more office space to fit everyone. Satellite offices are a way to expand your company’s presence quickly without extending your existing commercial premises, which can cost time and money.
2. Companies looking for new talent
Talent has a habit of congregating in one place—think of the tech industry in Silicon Valley, energy firms in Texas, or banking in New York—so companies that want to attract the best possible talent need to be visible wherever that talent happens to be. A satellite office established near a skills hub enables a growing business to attract and retain the best new hires.
3. Companies seeking commercial partnerships
Of course, it’s not only skills that congregate in one spot: Companies do too. A satellite office is a foot in the door when it comes to building commercial partnerships with other businesses working in your sector. Having a physical presence in your industry’s hub unlocks networking opportunities and expands your influence and reputation.
4. Companies that want to improve the quality of customer service
Consumers value local companies, so to improve the quality of their customer service, many businesses will establish satellite offices closer to where their customers are. A support agent or sales rep with local knowledge can build unbeatable relationships with customers and clients, helping to boost retention and satisfaction.
What should you take into account when opening a satellite office?
The old adage is true when making any real estate purchasing decision, but it’s especially important when opening a satellite office. Your location should reflect the goals you have in mind for the new workplace. Will it serve employees who commute by car? Or should you position your business near a talent pool?
A truly effective satellite office can collaborate seamlessly with other offices around the company, regardless of how far away they might be. Make sure your new space has the amenities, software, tools, and infrastructure to enable teams to perform at their best.
A satellite office can test the waters of a new market to gain a better understanding of whether or not your business can thrive there. Market research can guide your expectations of success to a degree, but a flexible, short-term office lease can help your business navigate the unexpected. That’s true whether you decide to put the brakes on your expansion or take your plans to the next level.