Like many businesses, REI embraced remote working as a necessity when COVID-19 struck the U.S. Now, however, the co-operative retailer is embracing this model with an updated concept for a corporate headquarters: not a single building but multiple satellite campuses across the Seattle region.
To that end, REI put its newly completed headquarters in the Seattle suburbs up for sale. The retailer originally had announced plans for the new HQ in 2016, and construction began in 2018 for an intended midsummer 2020 move-in date.
REI is now leaning into remote working as an “engrained, supported, and normalized model for headquarters employees, offering flexibility for more employees to live and work outside the Puget Sound region and shrinking the co-op’s carbon footprint,” according to a company statement.
“This year we learned that the more distributed way of working we previously thought untenable will instead unlock incredible potential,” said Eric Artz, President and CEO of REI 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 executives believe that selling the campus, located in the Spring District of Bellevue, Wash., will enable the company to invest more in customer innovations, its network of non-profit partners and the co-op’s carbon goals.
“This year has shown us our home is not a building,” said Artz in a video call with employees. “Our home is wherever we find ourselves doing our best work, pursuing our outdoor passions, serving our communities.”