September 22, 2021 by Andrea Rajic
Expanding your business? Congrats! Entering new markets is always exciting, and if you’re also onboarding people from different cities or countries, it can bring fresh perspectives to your company and help it grow even more.
But what if those people need a place to work? Not everyone is able to set up a proper home office. They may have a lack of space, small kids crashing their meetings, bad internet connection at home, or any other obstacle preventing them from being as productive as they’d like to be.
So, why not provide them with a satellite office? You don’t need to go to space to get a super comfortable and inspiring satellite for your employee distributed in other locations. Great satellites are also available here on Earth - and here’s how to set them up to help your team achieve outstanding results.
A company may have its headquarters located in one city, but if they also operate in or hire from other cities and countries, they may open satellite offices to accommodate their employees from these locations.
A satellite office is physically separate from the headquarters, but may also be in the same city - at the opposite sides of the town, for example. However, it’s still considered a third space.
Satellite offices are typically smaller than the main office, but they can vary in size - sometimes they’re used by just a few employees, while sometimes there are dozens or hundreds of employees working in a satellite office. It all depends on the company’s needs. Many famous brands have satellite offices all around the world: Microsoft, Starbucks, Coca-Cola...
What’s a branch office? You may have heard both of these terms used to describe a company’s office other than the headquarters. So, is that the same thing as a satellite office?
Yes, it is. Branch offices are another term for satellite offices - they are actually branches of a parent company that operate under its control in different locations (sometimes in different markets, countries, languages, etc.)
Establishing satellite offices may seem like too much hassle at first, but it actually has numerous benefits for your business. Here are some of them.
Why limit your company to local talent? What if your ideal employees are from another country or even continent? This is very common among companies looking for tech talent, which isn’t so easy to find nowadays. Setting up a satellite office facilitates hiring locally because you get to avoid hiring through an EOR.
After the initial setup costs, having a satellite office actually saves your money in the long run. Especially if you use a flexible workspace as your satellite office. If you’re planning to expand to a foreign market, it’s more cost-effective to have a satellite office than to cover commuting costs for your local employees each time they have to drive or fly to the new location.
When expanding your business to new markets, it’s always useful to have some first-hand insights and advice. Hiring local people and enabling them to work locally can help you monitor the market better and identify growth opportunities in time.
As you’re going global, you also create new opportunities for your products and services. Introducing them to new markets, with a good marketing strategy in place, can help increase your overall sales and revenue.
Believe it or not, some employees are not fans of working from home. On the other hand, they’d love to work near home. You should bear that in mind when hiring foreigners - a satellite office means that you can offer them a good balance between remote and office work. That makes you a competitive employer.
Customer support reps can work remotely, but sometimes it’s necessary for them to be present in order to solve an issue. Also, if they’re working from a different time zone, that can be an obstacle to creating an outstanding customer experience. A local team of customer care reps can do a lot for your business’ reputation.
Are you looking to partner up with local businesses? Big or small, they may prefer meeting with you in person or need you physically there to establish the collaboration and carry out projects together. If you have a satellite office, you don’t need to miss great partnership opportunities.
A very recent study proved that companies that allowed their workers to spend their working hours in designated satellite offices had a lower carbon footprint and gas consumption. Also, companies participating in the study reduced the probabilities of their workers being infected by Covid-19 and increased their safety.
Before you jump right into the paperwork of opening a satellite office, you should be aware of these potential challenges, too.
Maintaining the company culture can be a challenge even if your whole team is in one place, and many companies fear that satellite offices and remote work can make things even more difficult.
However, promoting diversity and teamwork, encouraging ongoing communication between team members, and finding a balance that will allow everyone to feel comfortable at the office, while keeping the company’s values and spirit should do the work.
You can’t be in two places at the same time. As the company’s CEO or your team’s manager, you may want to be there for them if they need help, or you believe they need more supervision at the beginning. This lack of control may represent a challenge you can solve this way: assign the supervision duty to a colleague you trust.
The whole process of establishing your satellite office may be time-consuming and tiring. However, after you complete this initial paperwork, set up your local bank accounts, and make sure you’re compliant with all the local laws, you can relax and focus on business.
How do you know if setting up a satellite office is a good idea for your business? Here are a few situations in which you may opt for opening branch offices.
If your plan is to enter new markets or test them, opening a satellite office facilitates researching the market in the future and doing business in general. That’s why many businesses that plan on going global opt for satellite offices: it helps them place their employees exactly where they need them, and hire top talent without asking them to relocate.
You may have heard that in Turkey, you can find numerous software developers since they’ve expanded this sector a lot over the past years. Or you’re looking to partner up with specific types of businesses in a specific location. In this case, a satellite office can make your job easier.
A survey showed that one in five COOs expect their company to reduce the number of employees within three years. Unfortunately, it happens, especially after such a turbulent period like the year 2020. If you feel unsure about your company’s future, a flexible space playing the role of a satellite office may give you enough room to scale up or down depending on how things pan out.
So you’ve decided a satellite office is your next business step! Congrats! We’re sharing three great tips on how you can make it work for your company.
Bear two things in mind when choosing the location for your satellite office. It should be somewhere accessible to most of your employees - close to a bus station, train station, with enough parking space, etc. Remember that your workers will be going out on their lunch break, so make sure there are restaurants nearby, as well.
Another important factor is scalability: what if you need to hire more people at some point? You should be able to either renovate the place to make more space, or rent a bigger office right away. At the same time, you need to be able to afford the office, so calculate the potential costs before you make the final decision. Count in the utility bills, rent, amenities, and more to get an approximate number.
The way you decorate and furnish your satellite office can play a significant role in your team’s productivity. Think about the space you have at your disposal and where specific pieces of equipment should be located for the optimal flow within the office.
What colors will seem stimulating? Does the office have enough rooms (including a kitchen)? Where do you get ergonomic chairs? Should you get standing desks? See how many factors there are to consider? It’s not just about picking what looks pretty.
Your “overseas” team should be able to work as efficiently as people at your headquarters. To make that possible, you should consider the equipment, software, and tools you need to provide for your satellite office. Make sure there are enough computers, printers, scanners, and everything else your workers need to complete their everyday tasks.