Situation: A Silicon Valley company is considering starting a second office both to reduce costs and to diversify its geographic client base. What are best practices for starting your first remote office?
Advice from the CEOs:
- Do you really need to have an office, or can your employees be virtual?
- Look at your business model and what aspects of your business require an office. Within Silicon Valley, some companies have established local remote offices to enable staff to reduce commutes. These offices include full computer and audio-visual facilities so that remote office staff can participate in home office team meetings. There are an increasing number of cloud-based services that facilitate collaboration between widely distributed teams in different geographic areas. These include Go-to-Meeting, WebEx and Sococo. Can a model like this work for you? If so, then locating an office in a different region is not very different from a remote local office.
- Outside of your current client base, what customer companies would you like to target?
- Where are they located? Is there a significant geographic concentration of potential customers in other regions? This might tell you where you would want to put either a real or a virtual local office.
- Locating an office in a location with numerous potential clients also increases the likelihood that you will find a trained and experienced local talent pool to staff your office.
- Make sure that you analyze and understand your business model and what portions are exportable.
- What is your culture and how much does it rely on interaction between home office and consultant staff? Avoid a situation where remote staff feel 2nd class.
- The solution is to fully understand your model, and to manage both local and remote office staff through the model. Make it simple to monitor people and their activities.
Key Words: Office, Remote, Virtual, Business Model, Collaboration, Technology, Customer, Location, Contractor, CultureTweet