Yelp is closing its New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C., offices as the company embraces remote work.
In a Thursday blog post, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said employees were barely using those three offices. Yelp is also trimming its real estate footprint in Phoenix, he said.
“The most telling signal for us that people strongly prefer remote work has been the under-utilization of our offices,” Stoppelman wrote.
Only 1% of Yelp’s global employee base goes to the office every day, Stoppelman said, and employees were using less than 2% of the available workspaces in New York, Chicago and D.C. Those three offices will close July 29, he said.
Stoppelman has previously been a vocal advocate for remote work, going toe-to-toe with Founders Fund partner Keith Rabois last month when Rabois tweeted that he wanted to fund “IRL startups.”
Stoppelman tweeted that wanting to fund in-office startups was “equivalent to ‘looking to fund startups running Windows95,’” encouraging Rabois to “live in the future and fully embrace remote.”
Yelp downsized its San Francisco headquarters to three floors of a building in September of 2021. Before the pandemic Yelp was squeezed by the tech giants for both real estate and talent in San Francisco, although the picture looks very different now.
In the blog post, Stoppelman insisted that remote-first was best for Yelp and that even a hybrid model is a mistake when it requires employees to show up at the office regularly.
“It requires employees to live near an office, potentially driving up their housing costs, and to endure unpaid time spent commuting,” Stoppelman said. “It also means hiring is artificially constrained by geography, translating to a smaller and less diverse pool of talent.”
Yelp’s workforce is now distributed across every U.S. state and four countries, Stoppelman said, and has two remote C-level executives who don’t live near a Yelp office. The company has seen a “strong surge” in interest from job applicants, many of whom cited remote work as part of their interest in working at Yelp, he said.