Looking for a new office space? Learn what a satellite office is and why it might be the workspace solution your business needs.
Selecting a location for an office is no small feat for a company. You’re looking for the right balance between cost, convenience, and business prospects. But these aren’t one-time considerations; companies continue to face the location question as they grow and evolve.
Whether your company is a startup with a small, dedicated team or a large, established corporation, where you’re headquartered doesn’t have to limit where your company operates. And today, it’s easier than ever to run a company without being centralized in a single place. Satellite offices are one common solution.
Before we go any further, let’s define what a satellite office is:
A satellite office is a branch of a company that is physically separate from the organization’s main office.
Satellite offices can range dramatically in size, housing anywhere from one employee to hundreds. Likewise, companies both big and small may elect to invest in satellite offices, depending on the specific needs of their business.
Below you’ll learn more about who uses satellite offices and why they’re useful, plus the essential information you or your company should know about finding the best fit.
In this blog:
- What kinds of companies use satellite offices?
- Benefits of satellite offices
- How to find a satellite office
What kinds of companies use satellite offices?
Companies across industry and size use satellite offices to develop their businesses strategically. Many companies who open satellite offices will fall into one of these three categories:
1. Businesses that are growing
As your company hires for more roles or expands to new cities, there may naturally come a time when you just need more space.
Rather than transferring your entire operation to a new site, opening a satellite office allows you to retain the benefits of your existing space — whether that’s the perfect location, low real estate costs, or simply the convenience of staying where you are.
Even if a company does plan to move, a temporary satellite office can come in handy as overflow space during the transition. CIC’s shared office environments make this particularly easy by offering 30-day membership terms. In addition to less logistical labor upfront, a flexible rental offers a helpful buffer in cases of drawn out build-outs. There’s no reason to pause a company’s growth to wait for walls, floors, desks, and chairs. Companies with satellite offices might be expanding their offerings or emerging in new markets, so they’ll want some staff on the ground to network, learn about the local culture, or handle in-person logistics.
2. Businesses looking to cross-pollinate
We always hear about competition in business, but we far less frequently talk about the power of collaboration or cross-pollination. Cross-pollination is the process of exposing employees to new ways of thinking by sharing knowledge. In business, cross-pollination also comes from bringing individuals from different industries, backgrounds, and even companies together.
Many of today’s most innovative companies seek partnerships with other businesses to bolster their own, finding that looking outside the walls of their own operations is actually vital to their long-term success. In other words, collaboration allows corporations to transform potentially industry-rocking competition into mutually advantageous partnerships.
Establishing a satellite office in a hub of activity, like a CIC Innovation Campus, sets up your company to jumpstart such collaborations and think outside the box. Through the power of proximity, you’ll be positioned to network organically, stay in the center of industry trends, and promote your products, services, or events to a receptive community.
3. Businesses targeting specific talent pools
Employees are referred to as “talent” for a reason: When you’re hiring, you’re not looking for just anyone to fill a position. You’re looking for the right person to join your team. And just as a company seeks the best candidates, potential hires look for the best possible fit in an employer. So how do you attract top talent? One way to do this is to go where the top talent is. Literally.
When companies decide where to open satellite offices, they might take into account the talent pool in respective locations. They might even open a new office specifically to tap into the talent of a certain region, city, or neighborhood.
While businesses obviously want to stand out, there is some power in numbers. A place known for its opportunities for specific skill sets or fields naturally attracts candidates in search of those opportunities.
Local institutions like schools and training programs are part of this equation too, as they’re often producing the talent of that area. For example, Boston consistently ranks as one of the top cities for startups; in 2023, it ranked sixth by the Startup Genome. Among the cited factors? Talent. The city’s many universities, including some of the world’s most prestigious institutions like Harvard University and MIT, create a steady flow of new talent, and a plethora of work and funding opportunities make Boston an attractive place for some of the best and the brightest.
Benefits of satellite offices
Satellite offices offer a variety of benefits to companies and employees, depending on their unique business models and goals.
Here are some of the most common benefits of satellite offices:
We’ve established how talent can figure into the decision to open a satellite office and where.
But once you’ve set yourself up with access to the kind of talent you’re looking for, how do you get those people excited about the prospect of working at your company? Satellite offices can actually function as a recruitment tool, if done correctly, and there are many benefits to employees.
Though most employers find it difficult to recruit skilled workers, having a space that allows for flexibility and provides desirable amenities is essential for not only employees to be satisfied, but for employers to retain top talent.
Think about what a potential employee might find attractive in a workspace: Is the office easy to get to? Does it come with amenities such as onsite showers, a gym, a snack-filled kitchen, or a handful of tasty lunch spots within walking distance? Is your satellite office a comfortable, inspiring space to spend time in? All of these factors and more can influence one’s impression of your company, impacting their eagerness to become part of your team.
CIC provides all-inclusive amenities that employees love and that employers don’t have to worry about providing themselves including fully stocked kitchens, wellness areas, and access to corporate discounts. After all, building a satellite office where people want to work helps make your company a place where people want to work as well.
Another potential benefit of satellite offices is cost. While a company may require a space in a particular location due to visibility, traffic, or where their customer base is, it may not be necessary for all staff members or teams to work in that same physical space. If a company can get the same work done away from its main office at a more affordable rate, it may invest in a satellite location to establish or maintain a presence in another location at the same time.
In the day-to-day, it might feel like an office is an office is an office. But that’s not necessarily the case for people outside of your company, especially those who aren’t yet familiar with what you do.
A reputable address can feed directly into the perception of your company among potential clients, partners, investors, or other industry players. Your address is like a first impression, and it tells part of your company’s story. Having a satellite office at a well-known and respected location can also set the tone for everything from business meetings to interviews to networking events that you may host. For example, companies that have an office at CIC Cambridge in Kendall Square, also referred to as the most innovative square mile on the planet, have the benefit of an address in a world renowned tech hub that companies like Google, Moderna, and Biogen call home.
You are the company you keep, right? In business, this proverb speaks to more than moral character: who you surround yourself with influences who you do business with. After all, business connections are people connections.
Satellite offices give you an opportunity to choose who the members of your company will strike up a conversation with while grabbing their morning coffee or who they’ll bump into in the elevator (they don’t call it an elevator pitch for nothing!).
This is one important reason why companies flock to business districts rich in partnerships, such as University City — where CIC Philadelphia operates shared workspace in collaboration with civic innovation hall Quorum, Wexford Science+Technology, and University City Science Center — or industry hubs like Providence, RI which is known for its high density of offshore wind companies. Even if an organization isn’t based there, it can still establish a presence that translates to increased name recognition, opportunities for collaboration, and a stronger contact list, faster.
Proximity to New Markets
Along those lines, satellite offices make it easier for companies to enter new markets by becoming immersed in those local communities. A physical presence offers you the opportunity to learn about norms and customer preferences in a new place, and to meet with potential collaborators and clients.
Satellite offices – Conclusion
Satellite offices allow companies to break free from the usual office mold.
Whether you’re a growing startup seeking to expand or an enterprise company aiming to tap into specific talent pools, the benefits are vast and empower companies to strategically position themselves, connect with the target audience, and embrace growth without geographical constraints in an ever-evolving business landscape.
As well as the numerous benefits satellite offices offer, it’s essential to ensure you’re making the right choice when selecting a location. Finding the ideal satellite office location can significantly impact your business’s success. To guide you through that decision, read our expert article on how to find the perfect satellite office.
Are you thinking about setting up a satellite office? With eight locations in dynamic cities around the world, CIC can help your company set up a satellite office to support your business’s growth. Explore our flexible office space solutions in a culture that fosters innovation or read our tips on how to select a satellite office.