Working in a Satellite Office

In my years of working in the non-profit sector, I have had the opportunity to work both in organizations’ main offices as well as satellite offices.  There are pros and cons to each type of environment. I currently work in a satellite office, and I have noticed that oftentimes,  when you work in a satellite office, you need to constantly remind people in your own organization that you exist, and often have to justify how you spend your time.

For example, the satellite office in which I currently work is located in Jerusalem, as this is where most of our large donors live. Our network headquarters is in the center of the country, and most of the development unit works there (so they are visible to the other departments within the organization). To make matters even more confusing, our department is technically part of our US office, which is the main fundraising entity of our organization. So my office is really a “satellite of a satellite”.

My office is the “volunteer office”. Due to financial cuts we have restructured and cut down our staff in this office. I am the one full-time employee in this office, and I have a lovely co-worker who is part-time. However, I feel that there is a disconnect between the work that we do, and the perception of the work that we do. For example, we do many things (event planning, donor relations, processing of donations, projects with volunteers, day-to-day administration, etc.), however I feel that the perception of our office is that we sit around and “schmooze” with our volunteers (mostly older ladies) all day.

How can those of us in satellite offices help to prevent this disconnect and educate our own colleagues on our roles and responsibilities? I’d love to hear your feedback. 

Chava Ashkenazi

Jerusalem, Israel 

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4 Responses to Working in a Satellite Office

  1. Nezar says:

    I found using an online communication tool one of the best methods to keep other co-workers aware that you exist, i keep pinging them from time to time and work together on a few things.
    we are using Skype but that is an organization mandate that everybody should run and use Skype. you might want to suggest something like that to your team

  2. chavaleh1127 says:

    Thanks for your comment! In my experience it’s not so much my “team” that doesn’t know that my office exists, but rather other departments within the organization. Do you have any advice as to how to facilitate better communication/presence?

    • Nezar says:

      Yeah I feel what you say when you mentioned other departments. It is always difficult, i personally try to visit the head office as frequent as possible to get in touch and meet with the others. Your case is more complicated since you work in a satellite of a satellite.
      The best possible solution that i can think of (we did it once here to a reasonable effect) is to do a presentation in one of the company gatherings to explain to others what you do and difficulties and challenges you face normally and ask them for hints and tips and if any can help out. should be very short one and stress on how valuable their input is 🙂

      Finally hope you get this sorted out, but if not, then such is life 🙂

  3. chavaleh1127 says:

    Great suggestions! Sometimes it is worth it to travel to the main office (at least in this country!) to establish presence. Thanks!

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