The workplace for REI Co-op is about to look vastly different.
The outdoor retail giant announced today that it is looking to sell its newly-constructed corporate campus, which is located in Bellevue, Wash. REI started construction on the facility on an 8-acre plot of land the Spring District neighborhood in 2018 with the intent of moving in this summer.
Also, the company said it moving toward “a less centralized approach to its headquarters presence in the Seattle area.”
“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,” REI president and CEO Eric Artz said to employees today, which was then shared in a statement. “As a result, our new experience of ‘headquarters’ will be very different than the one we imagined more than four years ago.”
In a statement, REI said its headquarters will no longer be a single location, opting for multiple locations across the region. It also will make working remotely “an engrained, supported and normalized model,” which it has been doing with almost its entire workforce at the HQ since early March due to COVID-19 concerns.
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“We learned that the more distributed way of working we previously thought untenable will instead unlock incredible potential,” Artz said in a statement. “This will have immediate, positive impacts on our ability to attract and retain a diverse and highly skilled workforce, as we continue to navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”
REI outlined the benefits of it’s new corporate work structure, which includes the potential for its employees to live and work outside of Washington’s Puget Sound region. Also, the retail giant said this model will help it save money that it could invest in customer innovations and its network of nonprofit partners, and would help it shrink its carbon footprint.
“I am confident that the sale of the Spring District campus would have a positive impact on REI’s future — and yours,” Artz told employees. “This year has shown us our home is not a building. Our home is wherever we find ourselves doing our best work, pursuing our outdoor passions, serving our communities. Serving each other. That is what we will build around as we move forward — and as we accelerate into what’s next.”