Outdoor equipment retailer REI announced they are looking to sell their brand new corporate headquarters in Washington, as they embrace working from home and remote work options.
“The dramatic events of 2020 have challenged us to reexamine and rethink every aspect of our business and many of the assumptions of the past. That includes where and how we work,” said REI President and CEO Eric Artz, in a video call with employees Wednesday. “As a result, our new experience of 'headquarters' will be very different than the one we imagined more than four years ago.”
The company’s headquarters is being built in the Seattle area, in Bellevue, and is roughly 400,000 square feet and sits on eight acres of land. Corporate staff was planning on moving in to the newly-completed building this summer, according to the Seattle Times.
REI transitioned to nearly 100 percent remote work in early March for corporate staff. Washington reported some of the earliest cases of coronavirus in the country.
Retail stores closed in March across the country and recently reopened.
The company admits the sale will also benefit them financially. They cite safety and preventative measures retail stores and the company have taken during the pandemic, in addition to slower sales with the temporary closure of stores.
Artz and the board of directors have taken paycuts and in July, REI announced a 5 percent reduction in staff.
REI says they will embrace remote work as an “engrained, supported, and normalized model for headquarters employees, offering flexibility for more employees to live and work outside of the Puget Sound region and shrinking the co-op’s carbon footprint.”