Yelp Inc. is embracing its remote-working first approach by closing its offices in Chicago, New York and Washington D.C., as well as reducing its footprint in Phoenix, according to a blog post by chief executive officer Jeremy Stoppelman.

While the company has been reopening its offices over the last nine months, he said just one per cent of Yelp’s global workforce is in the office every day, noting the cost-savings realized from the closures will go toward Yelp’s employee experience initiatives, hiring new talent and growing the business. “Combined, the three offices we’re closing saw a weekly average utilization of less than two per cent of the available workspaces.”

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Stoppelman said forcing employees back to the office is the wrong approach as it requires them to live near an office, potentially driving up their housing costs and unpaid commuting times. He also noted returning to a physical office space may artificially constrain hiring by geography, which can lead to a smaller and less diverse talent pool.

“Our workforce was previously concentrated in the areas where we have offices and now we have employees spread across every state in the U.S. and four countries,” he said. “We also hired two remote C-level executives in geographies with no Yelp offices and have been seeing a strong surge in candidate applications, with many noting remote work is part of the reason they’re drawn to the company and role.”

A recent internal survey found a majority (86 per cent) of employees would prefer to work remotely most or all of the time, wrote Stoppelman, noting the organization’s remote-first approach has allowed staff to spend more time with their family and loved ones.

The survey also found 93 per cent of employees and managers said they can meet their goals remotely and 87 per cent of employees said remote work has made them more effective at work. Indeed, Yelp reported a net profit of $39.7 million on record revenue of $1.03 billion in 2021, with revenue increasing 19 per cent in the first quarter of 2022.

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