Yelp downsizes its Scottsdale office, citing employees' choice of remote work

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In this Oct. 26, 2011, file photo, the logo of the online reviews website Yelp is shown in neon on a wall at the company's Manhattan offices in New York. Yelp is closing some physical offices, saying employees were hardly using them since the company went remote. Yelp said Thursday, June 23, 2022, it's closing offices in New York, Washington and Chicago and downsizing in Phoenix.
In this Oct. 26, 2011, file photo, the logo of the online reviews website Yelp is shown in neon on a wall at the company's Manhattan offices in New York. Yelp is closing some physical offices, saying employees were hardly using them since the company went remote. Yelp said Thursday, June 23, 2022, it's closing offices in New York, Washington and Chicago and downsizing in Phoenix.

Corrections & Clarifications: In a previous version of this article, the first name of Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman was incorrect.

Yelp Inc., the online business-reviews company, will cut the size of its Scottsdale office by nearly half and take other space-reducing actions nationally in response to employee preferences to work remotely and the company's improved financial performance since allowing it.

Besides the space reduction in Scottsdale, the company will close offices in New York, Chicago and Washington.

It cited an internal survey that showed 86% of Yelp employees prefer to work remotely all or most of the time, with 93% of employees and managers reporting that they have been able to meet their goals.

Only about 1% of Yelp's employees have been coming into offices regularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Downsizing Scottsdale office needs

Yelp is reducing the size of its leased Scottsdale office at 4343 N. Scottsdale Road, just south of Camelback Road, to 40,000 square feet on a single floor from 72,000 square feet on two floors.

"We've been in the process of adjusting our real estate footprint to reflect the needs of a remote-first workforce for some time," spokesperson Kylie Banks said in an email to The Republic. She didn't disclose the number of Yelp employees in Arizona.

Yelp announced in September that the majority of its global employees would be allowed to continue working remotely if they wanted, making returns to the office optional.

"Over time we came to realize that the future of work at Yelp is remote," wrote Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp's CEO and co-founder, in a blog. "It’s best for our employees and for our business."

Remote policy spurs higher profits

As evidence, Stoppelman cited record corporate revenue in 2021. Yelp generated $1.03 billion in revenue last year, up 18% from 2020, and earned a profit of $39.7 million, reversing a year-earlier loss of $19.4 million.

Cutting some office space will allow the company to decrease leasing expenses.

"We learned that we could not only effectively operate our business as a distributed remote workplace, but that our people could thrive and be just as, if not more, productive while remote," Stoppelman continued in the blog.

"Employees are more satisfied working remotely as they can spend precious time they would have otherwise spent commuting doing the things they love with the people who mean the most to them."

Yelp, founded 17 years ago, maintains 220 million customer-driven ratings and reviews for restaurants, electricians, plumbers, auto-repair shops and other businesses.

The corporation counts about 4,400 employees total, with most working in sales/marketing or product development. Yelp derives most of its revenue from advertising.

Remote work desired by many

With more than 11 million job openings nationally, more employers might consider offering remote-work options if they hope to retain and attract staff.

A recent survey by job-placement company Robert Half showed restlessness among many metro-Phoenix workers, with 29% saying they planned to pursue new jobs over the second half of the year.

While higher pay was the top motivator, many job seekers expressed an interest in working remotely.

Of Phoenix-area residents who plan to look for new opportunities, 52% said they're seeking fully remote positions, while 45% said they're open to hybrid opportunities, according to the survey.

Reach the reporter at russ.wiles@arizonarepublic.com.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Yelp downsizes its Scottsdale office, citing employees' preferences