Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman announced Thursday that it would close "underutilized offices" in New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
In a blog post, Stoppelman wrote that following the COVID-19 pandemic, it had become "abundantly clear" that the way Americans work has "gone through a major transformation."
"Over time we came to realize that the future of work at Yelp is remote. It’s best for our employees, and for our business," he said.
Stoppelman said the company learned that employees could thrive and be even more productive by working remotely, citing record revenue in 2021.
In a survey conducted by the company, 86% of Yelp workers said they’d prefer to work remotely most or all of the time and 87% said that working remotely has made them more effective.
Nearly all employees and their managers reported that they could meet their goals remotely, with reopened offices underutilized.
"When we started reopening offices over the past nine months we chose not to set a ‘return to work’ date. Instead, we piloted a remote-first approach to give people an option to use an office if they wanted to do so. We’ve since learned that the vast majority didn’t need the space. Globally, about 1% of our workforce is choosing to come into the office every day," he explained.
The closure of offices in those cities is set for July 29. Those three offices saw a weekly average utilization of less than 2% of the available workspaces.
Yelp will also "reduce [its] footprint" in Phoenix.
In doing so, Stoppelman said Yelp would reallocate company resources toward employee experience, new talent and growth.
In-person gatherings will "continue to evolve."
"I’ve shared my thoughts on why forcing people back to the office, even in a hybrid model, is the wrong approach. It requires employees to live near an office, potentially driving up their housing costs, and to endure unpaid time spent commuting. It also means hiring is artificially constrained by geography, translating to a smaller and less diverse pool of talent," he added.
"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. 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 that remote work is part of the reason they’re drawn to the company and role," Stoppelman continued.
He said that, as a company founded on the idea of connecting users with local businesses, having employees working worldwide directly ties into its mission.
"Yelp continues to experience the benefits of a remote workplace and it’s the clear path forward for us. We’re excited to continue to design the future of remote work at Yelp together with our employees," he concluded.
The San Francisco-based company, which has 4,400 employees, started a remote-first work model in February 2021. Yelp said offices in London, Toronto and other locations will remain open for now.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.