A reinvigorated discussion in the corporate real estate world is satellite offices. When companies moved to remote work operations, many offices became vacant. With the realization that some employees may achieve similar levels of productivity at home, one central office may not be an assumed norm anymore.
There will be some new challenges that companies will have to deal with if they decide satellite offices make sense for them. Often they’re located outside of the downtown area and designed to cater to a smaller group of employees, which makes building a positive company culture a little trickier.
Budget for each space
Before the pandemic-induced push to to remote work, people often made their desk their own with pictures of their families and accumulations of trinkets. They also had access to any and all supplies needed to get their work done.
For people who transitioned to remote work, they were able to work in whatever space in their home was most conducive to them being successful. Lots of employers helped out their employees by providing stipends, supplies and other forms of support so that home offices could be as comfortable as possible.
Different work areas
Install a couch and coffee table to allow for a change of scenery. Your employees have been working from their own couches for a year, it could be nice to make that an option available to them in the office. You can also put in cafe-style seating for employees to work from – it’s like they’re working at their own kitchen table.
You can – and should – also survey employees in each office space and see what they want or need. Maybe they’re fine with working from their desk, but also want access to a ping pong table when they’re decompressing. A major part of building a positive culture is empowering your employees. So allow them to work together to create a space that works for them.
Individual budgets are another important aspect of building a successful company culture and satellite office. You’re going to provide the basic necessities for your employees, but why not give them a little extra?
Some companies provide employees with a productivity stipend every year. This can be used on anything that will help them work, like a standing desk, noise-cancelling headphones, or even an upgraded monitor if they so wish. This type of bonus is slightly different from what we’re discussing, but it gives employees the option to create their own work experience, and that, in turn, makes for a positive work environment.
Now that we’ve covered what you can do and how you can do it in your own space, let’s cover coworking spaces. Lots of companies have started expanding where they recruit, allowing new employees to work from their desired location, rather than having to relocate.
With coworking locations littered throughout most metropolitan areas, the gap is being bridged between offices and employee leisure. They often have bars, couches, tables, desks, and conference rooms – pretty much any work surface you can think of. This diverse array of work surfaces makes for an easier transition back to an office environment.
Coworking spaces also remove the investment on your end to add amenities and benefits that have become expected. An important part of the business model behind coworking spaces is that they have add-ons built into the space and price. From cold brew coffee on tap, to juice bars, and snack counters, most of the coveted office perks are readily available.
All of these perks, combined with having access to the various workspace options we mentioned above, makes for a very nice office set up.
With the expectation that large groups of employees might not be in the office at the same time, you’ll need to make up that face time somehow. Regular team or company outings can be the perfect solution. Depending on the size of your company, these outings may have to be hosted on an individual team basis. Hosting the team away from the office gives your employees the opportunity to interact with each other outside of the workplace, or their Zoom rooms.
These outings can also cultivate better communication and ideas from the team. We’re not saying to find a place in the woods and only work through team-building activities. A local coffee shop can be a great setting for a small team outing. Alternatively, renting out a meeting space in a nearby coworking office can give you a professional setting, that is still a relaxed change of scenery. These spaces will also most likely provide the technology you need to work through project or planning sessions.