As many of our clients reassess their office needs post-shelter-in-place, our brokerage team has helped them explore a variety of options to keep their costs down and employees safe. Recently, some of our clients have been asking what it would look like to split an office into downtown and suburban locations, known to some as hub and spoke locations. Below, we explore the pros and cons of this scenario.
Changing Your Employees’ Commutes
Leasing a suburban office is an opportunity to meet some of your employees closer to home. A shorter commute for those that live near your second location may improve employee satisfaction and productivity. Offices closer to home also means lessening the dependency on public transit. With more free or affordable parking in the suburbs, your employees may have the option of driving to work instead of taking a crowded train or bus during these times.
Of course, the benefits of leasing office space in the suburbs as it relates to commuting time depends on your employees and clients. If most of your employees live in downtown Chicago and don’t own cars, a suburban location would increase commute time and employees would still use public transit. In addition, if your team needs to be close to your clients and all of your clients are downtown, you may not want to lease another office in the suburbs.
Social Distancing in Two Offices
Leasing two offices may help limit your employees’ exposure to each other. With a suburban office, you may be able to lease more space for less, which means that you can increase the amount of space per person and decrease office density. Instead of rotating your employees in one office to decrease exposure, your employees can go to work as usual and while limiting interactions between the entire workforce. If your current office has ample space for your employees, you may consider just staying in your current downtown office instead of leasing another space.
Suburban Offices Let You Save on Monthly Rent
In this current economic situation, we’re all trying to find ways to cut costs for our businesses. No matter where you are in downtown Chicago, chances are there are cheaper alternatives to be found in any suburb.
Chicago Metro Area Downtown-Suburbs Savings Calculator
We built the following table to help highlight what your rent would look like divided between downtown and suburban locations. You can filter by building class and percentage split for more customized results. Percent savings are based on leading market averages.
Example: I’m currently in a Class B office building in River North and want to see the potential savings for moving 30% of my workforce to the suburbs. Using the tab in the top left, I set filters to Class B, 70% downtown, and 30% suburban. I then find the River North row on the left side and read across to compare rental savings across the different suburban submarkets.
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