As hub and spoke offices increase in popularity and FTSE 100 firms look to adopt decentralised workplace models, many of our customers have been asking us what it’s actually like to work in a satellite office. Join us while we explore what these setups are like for employees and what employers can do to offer the best experience.
Satellite offices can make brilliant working environments. A recent Google survey found that there were equal standards of productivity and wellbeing between satellite office employees and those who work in conventional workspaces – with the right approach, your teams can work well and even better, continuing to hit targets despite the distance between them.
Running a successful satellite office network requires you first to perfect the art of effective communication between your locations. Once you’ve achieved this, there are plenty of perks to a distributed workplace setup that your employees will thank you for. The sections below highlight some positives of the satellite office experience.
Businesses with satellite offices can take advantage of a wider talent pool, and with a workforce made up of the best brains, employees will feel like a more integral and valuable branch of the business. The sense of being part of a much larger support network can also give staff the confidence to collaborate, innovate and engage in disruptive thinking (something we’ve seen in a number of our customers during recent months).
This may seem counterintuitive given that satellite offices are geographically separated, but creating small location-based groups can actually help your employees to form more tightly knit teams. Many remote teams describe feeling more connected to each other due to their shared responsibilities as the company’s representatives in a given area, cultivating better teamwork and productivity levels overall.
When firms switch to a decentralised office model, employees often jump at the chance to move out to a satellite office. Relocating represents an exciting opportunity to explore a new place, assimilate the local culture or even get a fresh start: a recent study found that over 50% of employees “would reconsider quitting for a chance to relocate, even if they weren't given more pay or additional benefits.” The ability to move and grow with a company as it expands can also make employees feel more established, with long-lasting positive effects on your ability to recruit and retain the top staff.
Of course, for some employees, a new satellite office could mean an opportunity to work closer to their home. As we discussed in our first article on the hub and spoke model, it’s worth establishing a small ‘spoke’ office if a lot of your workforce currently travels from a particular area. Your staff will be grateful for the time and money that you’ll save them by taking their commute out of the equation, boosting productivity levels and work-life balance.
We’ve looked at a lot of the positive sides to working in a satellite office so far, but many of these points are only applicable if you’re able to create the right working conditions for your staff. The sections below outline some of our top tips for providing the best possible employee experience across all of your satellite offices.
Working in a satellite office can be really enjoyable, but if lines of communication break down between HQ and your remote workspaces, the staff there will soon start to feel isolated from the rest of the organisation. Whenever you provide any information or updates to employees, make sure that everyone else in the business gets the message too. Consider running regular video call meetings between your satellite offices to keep everyone in the loop.
If your business has multiple offices across a region, country or continent, it’s important to be fair and consistent with the benefits that you provide to employees in different locations. Although it’s the norm to expect a higher salary for working in, say, London, than in other UK cities, this rule shouldn’t extend to other benefits such as flexible working hours or the ability to work from home.
Inviting employees to get involved in a mentoring program is an excellent way to bring people from different office locations together. These kinds of interoffice schemes can help to bridge the divide and often make a great addition to the induction process in your satellite offices, helping new starters to get an immediate feel for the company’s culture and how its teams work together.
This article has explored what it’s like to work in a satellite office and how you can improve the experience for your employees. If you’re looking to switch over to the hub and spoke model, take a look at our step-by-step guide on how to approach this or get in touch with any questions.