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August 13, 2020

Piggybacking onto my diary entry yesterday, I read an article last night that outdoor retailer REI, has embraced the concept of remote working. Management has halted plans for employees to move into its new eight-acre outdoor-friendly headquarters campus in Bellevue, Washington, this summer. The property will instead be sold.

Seeing no short-term end to the coronavirus pandemic, they saw the writing on the wall that workers really don’t want to return to the office – even though the new headquarters building would feel more like summer camp for adults, complete with sliding glass doors and landscaped rooftops.

Like other companies moving in this direction, REI has realized that collaboration among workers can easily be accomplished remotely with available online tools dismissing the need for in-person meetings at one location. In addition to staff working remotely, the company headquarters will maintain a few smaller offices in Seattle and turn to curbside service at their retail stores as well as online marketing. We’ve all adapted to curbside service by now, right?

Anticipating that pandemic-related disruption can happen again, these tough business decisions will allow the company to weather the storm, keep employees working, and hikers and athletes equipped with proper gear.

Our last visit to REI was before the pandemic hit, when Louie bought energy snacks and vitamins – yet to be consumed…

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