As more and more workers are heading back into the office post-pandemic, there is an evident demand for workplace flexibility. One trending approach, although not new, is the hub-and-spoke work model or the use of satellite offices. Part of the office hub-and-spoke work model, satellite offices offer many advantages for both employers and employees, as companies reach beyond the city’s boundaries – and sometimes even beyond the borders. Here is everything you need to know about satellite offices, and why your company should explore this option.
What is a Satellite Office?
The hub-and-spoke work model consists of a “hub” that hosts the company’s headquarters – often in the city center – and of “spokes”, or smaller offices, often closer to where employees live. For remote workers, a spoke may be a cozy workstation at home, a local café with a wi-fi connection or even a shared desk in a coworking space. However, spokes usually refer to satellite offices – smaller branch offices of a company, spread across less central locations.
As described in the Daily Business, a research completed by recruitment firm Robert Walters “reveals that more than a third (37%) of business leaders are considering downsizing their primary office space served by smaller satellites closer to where their employees live.” Firms such as Google, Fujitsu and Virgin Money, are among those ready for the hub-and-spoke model.
1. Satellite Offices Cut Down Commute Time
You know the drill: you rise and shine well-rested after a good night’s sleep, sip your coffee, and hit the road on your way to work. By the time you get there, X many hours after driving your car at close to 0 kph and listening to the deafening orchestra of honking – you’re anything but relaxed. And now you have to start your workday.
According to the Pulse of the American Worker Survey conducted by the insurance company Prudential, 46% of surveyed employees listed saving time by not commuting as an advantage to working remotely. Satellite offices in the hub-and-spoke model provide just that.
Setting a satellite office outside of the boisterous city enables employees to evade traffic jams and cuts their commute time significantly. Positioning the satellite office in an easily accessible location, such as by a major highway, may further enhance this benefit. And there’s another plus – less frustration caused by heavy traffic should increase employees’ productivity.
Photo: Iwona Castiello d’Antonio/Unsplash
2. Keeping Company Culture Alive
Satellite offices combine the benefits of working from anywhere with getting an inspirational face-to-face interaction. Another interesting piece of data from Prudential’s survey shows that “2 in 3 remote workers believe in-person interactions are important for advancing their careers”. Be it in a team meeting, from a hot-desk surrounded by a mosaic of fascinating people, or over a water cooler chat – the office is where all the action takes place.
Ongoing technological innovation, such as teleconferencing and an array of online tools, makes communications among the hub and the spokes easier than ever and allows employees to feel included. By allowing employees to work from satellite offices, closer to home, they still feel part of the company culture without facing the disadvantages of long commutes to the hub.
3. Reaching New Markets and New Talents
Besides aiding in talent retention, satellite offices can attract new talents in the hiring process. Getting geographically closer to potential employees’ homes is important since “63% of workers would not add more than 15 minutes to their commute each way for their ideal workplace”, according to Savills’ What Workers Want survey. This would also broaden the pool of contingent workers.
Moreover, satellite offices can increase workplace diversity. Hiring remotely, no longer limited to employees that reside close to the company’s hub, opens doors to different demographics. But this is much more than taking action on DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion); it is long-proven that diversity boosts innovation.
Additionally, expanding beyond the borders of the metropolitan hub can open a whole new market. Reaching new leads, potential customers and business development opportunities is key for growth.
4. The Hub-and-Spoke Model is More Sustainable
Fitting real estate to the company’s needs can cut down unnecessary costs. Downsizing and thus lowering operation costs at the headquarters, while enjoying the agility in scalability offered by flex office providers, such as Mindspace, to gradually grow outside of the city is an efficient solution for the post-pandemic era.
A study published in the journal Sustainability showed that opening a satellite office “leads to less carbon emission and fuel consumption, and the infection probability decreases as office capacity reduces as well.” It also supports the economy in towns and cities outside of the metropolitan area by providing more job openings and using local services.
5. Part of the Green Scene
The pandemic has taught us the value of connecting to nature. And, indeed, many people want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and to build their lives in a green and calm environment. After a record number of people left New York City to the suburbs or elsewhere, there is no reason to rule out companies expanding out of urban areas as well. One way to do so is with satellite offices.
For example, the green surroundings of the new Mindspace flex offices in Yakum offer the serenity and peace of mind that both employees and employers are craving. This change of scenery can be a source of inspiration and creativity, lowering stress levels and increasing focus on work at the same time.