Social Entrepreneur / Community Organizer, Behance
In the first part of this series on reconsidering your office structure and incorporating smart telecommuting, we looked at a Hybrid office model, wherein a company with a single office would decrease its space and let its employees choose when to come in, and when to work from home. In this installment, we’ll look at the Satellite model, an approach that spreads out your company’s physical footprint to multiple smaller locations while still saving on office costs. While this can be a significant undertaking, the potential benefits are substantial:
(1) Employee satisfaction: Medium and large businesses often have employees who commute to the office anywhere from 25 to 50 or even 100 miles away. By cutting down on arduous commutes, you can drastically improve your employees’ overall happiness and job satisfaction.
(2) Cost savings: While the cost of managing multiple facilities might seem higher at first blush, the savings can still be substantial if you are able to drastically reduce your overall square footage in the process.
(3) Sustainability: By letting your employees work both at home and at locations closer by, they will be driving less and thus decreasing their carbon emissions. In addition, using less space means using less electricity - a savings on both costs and emissions.
The key to the satellite solution, though, is coupling it with a flexible approach to telecommuting. Allowing people to work from home a few days a week decreases the overall amount of employees you need desks for at any given time. You can then set up smaller offices (with a smaller overall footprint) at distributed locations.
If finding, leasing, and outfitting several satellite offices still sound daunting, that’s understandable. It often makes sense to go with a more lightweight solution. There are a few routes to take:
(1) Executive Suites: Companies like HQ / Regus specialize in having offices for rent everywhere. The environments on offer may be a bit staid for groups focused on high-end design, but such group’s services and existing infrastructure can make the shift an easy one.
(2) Coworking Spaces: Special centers specifically designed for location-independent workers, coworking spaces offer flexible memberships in pleasant work environments ideal for workers looking to get out of their homes. Primarily clustered in metropolitan areas, coworking spaces are definitely worth investigating as short-term, ad-hoc gathering places for your workers and have already begun helping small businesses with employees in multiple locations. See a map of coworking spaces here.
(3) Partner Up: In some cases, two or more companies may pool their resources to mutually share space in several locations. If you have close relations with another business that may be considering similar needs, you may be able to work out an agreement to share space.