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REI plans to sell the brand-new campus as it focuses on remote work



“The impressive events of 2020 have challenged us to review and rethink every aspect of our business and many past assumptions. That includes where we are and how we work, ”REI Chairman and CEO Eric Artz said during a video call with employees, according to a company statement.

The staff will work on campus, where the media reports call “the most outdoor HQ ever” and “like an adult summer camp” because the terrace and yard are full. native trees and large sliding doors to the outside, have not taken up yet. Like many office workers, they started working from home in March and are expected to move out in mid-summer.

Some commercial real estate investors believe that other companies can follow suit when employers feel comfortable with employee productivity and ability to collaborate while working from home, while giving allows great cost savings.

“Owners of large corporate buildings are actually seeing that their employees,”

; said Rick Mirza, a commercial real estate investor and CEO of Daulat, a private equity firm. really don’t want to work at the office anymore. “The feeling that we are working somewhere, and that is the whole mentality of this great tribe – [some are] realizing that was not necessary. “

Ben Steele, REI’s chief client, said in an interview that the original idea for the new campus was to focus on collaboration, but “if I look at what we’ve seen and learned in four years since then, [it’s that] Collaboration can take place in many ways and does not necessarily require a single site. “

REI is structured as a member-owned cooperative and publishes annual financial data.

Steele won’t share specifics on the price REI seeks for wholly owned properties and properties, but said it expects to get a return on the investment.

In the statement, REI said the sale would provide financial benefits such as investment in customer innovations – Steele points out investments in roadside services or an online business – as well as a reduction in carbon footprint and support for non-profit partners.

This year REI temporarily closed all of its stores and implemented a number of cash-saving measures, including cutting executive salaries and cutting unpaid wages for the majority of retail staff and scene. In May, REI said it expected a 30% drop in sales in 2020.

While the company brought in 95% of its store employees from furlough, and Artz said in Wednesday’s statement that REI had surpassed its initial revenue expectations for 2020, he also said in a letter. “These dollars will also play an important role in stabilizing our business through the ongoing effects of disruptions to our employees,” said employees. “

“The pandemic is far from over,” he added, “and it is important and prudent that we make sure the cooperative is prepared for an almost certain certainty of additional disruptions ahead. . “

In the letter, Artz said that while teleworking would become a more “normalized” way of working for headquarters staff, REI is actively working to find two satellite locations in the region. Seattle and lease renewal on an existing location. For now, he writes, REI hopes most of its headquarters staff will be working from home for the remainder of this year and by 2021, and will make working in locations outside of Seattle viable. than “in the months and years to come”.

“If you’re like me, you miss the sense of community. You miss the chats in the hallways. You miss the live sessions, ”writes Artz. But “this year has shown us that our home is not a building. Our home is wherever we find ourselves doing our best, pursuing our passion for outdoors, of serving our community. “


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