Yelp Rebuffs Hybrid 'Hell,' Closes 3 of Its Offices

Company makes bigger push toward remote work by closing NYC, Chicago, DC campuses
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2022 9:55 AM CDT
Yelp Rebuffs Hybrid 'Hell,' Closes 3 of Its Offices
In this image, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman poses in 2019 in the company's former headquarters in San Francisco.   (Amy Osborne/Yelp via AP)

(Newser) – Many employers are still resistant to telecommuting, even after two years of a pandemic during which distance work became more the rule than the exception. Yelp isn't one of them. The AP reports that the crowd-sourced reviews site will be closing its Chicago, New York City, and DC offices for good as of July 29, as well as shrinking its Phoenix office, after an internal survey found the vast majority of its employees say they've been more productive working remotely and want to do so permanently. And it appears the company's bottom line backs up those worker anecdotes.

"Our record revenue in 2021, which carried through to our first quarter results this year, demonstrate just how productive we are in a remote work environment," Yelp co-founder and CEO Jeremy Stoppelman wrote in a Thursday blog post announcing the closures. The Washington Post notes the company saw $39.7 million in net profits in 2021 on record revenues of $1.03 billion. Stoppelman also wrote in his post that since starting to reopen offices 9 months ago, the three offices that are being shuttered saw a weekly average use of less than 2% of all available workspaces. Meanwhile, in its offices worldwide, only about 1% of workers come in to the office each day.

"Forcing people back to the office, even in a hybrid model, is the wrong approach," he wrote, referring to a model in which employees work part of the week in the office and part of the week wherever they want. "It requires employees to live near an office, potentially driving up their housing costs, and to endure unpaid time spent commuting." He added that it also stymies finding the best, most diverse talent due to those geographical restrictions. Stoppelman elaborated on his feelings about hybrid work with the Post, calling that setup "the worst of both worlds" and "the hell of half-measures." The paper calls Yelp's new move a "doubling down" on remote work after last year it told its 4,400 employees they could work from home indefinitely. (Read more Yelp stories.)

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