The fast transition to working from home in March of 2020 wasn’t an easy one – from procuring thousands of laptops for our sales force and additional equipment for the rest of our employees, to learning how to work across teams remotely. Following the initial scramble during those first few weeks, our employees worked hard to find their footing over the following months, and over time we found that we were able to operate successfully as a distributed remote workforce.
Employees have found ways to remain productive and connected to one another, including through flexible work schedules when needed. And as many employees faced new challenges at home, like juggling childcare and work, they gained back valuable time they would have otherwise spent commuting. Others were able to take on new personal hobbies. The success of this shift demonstrates the feasibility of a distributed workforce at Yelp well into the future.
As we look ahead, once it’s safe to return to our offices, we will continue to operate on a distributed basis. We plan to maintain our presence in the locations where we currently have offices, including our headquarters in San Francisco, but with a significant portion of our team working remotely on a full-time basis, or coming into the office a few days a week. Our hybrid model will provide greater flexibility to Yelp employees who now have the opportunity to relocate so they can live where they want to live, and work where they’ll feel most effective. We’re now also able to access and attract great talent from a more diverse pool of candidates across the United States, Canada and Europe. There’s a lot of promising talent outside of the San Francisco Bay Area and New York, where we historically did the majority of our hiring, and we look forward to the opportunity to welcome them and have them be a part of Yelp.
While we plan to maintain offices in our current locations, with fewer employees coming to the office each day, our real estate needs have changed. We plan to reduce our real estate footprint as leases come up for renewal, and by subleasing some office space.
So what will our offices look like when it’s safe to return? We have begun working on those plans with Yelp employees as our primary focus. We want to build on our existing strong and collaborative culture, by creating a culture that supports and fosters a thriving distributed workforce. We plan to do that by focusing on equity in opportunities for career advancement, whether you’re a remote employee or spending a few days a week at one of our offices. By continuing to hold meetings in a digital space, we’ll create a more even playing field where all participants have the same opportunity to contribute, as they do today. At the same time, we also have an opportunity to create a flexible in-person office environment that invites collaboration, creativity, coffee chats and hallway conversations.
We’re excited about this next chapter for Yelp. We look forward to growing our employee base in 2021 and beyond, and continuing to build Yelp into a great place to work that supports the whole employee, whether they’re in the office or remote. If you’re interested in a five star career at Yelp, be sure to visit https://www.yelp.careers/.