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02/26/2021

REI details plans for first satellite office

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
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REI Co-op’s first satellite office will be surrounded by trail networks and “sandwiched” between two parks.

The 68,876-sq.-ft. office, one of several planned satellites around the Puget Sound area, will be located in Issaquah, Wash., and be able to hold up to 400 people at a time, post-pandemic. It is part of a plan that the outdoor gear and apparel retailer announced last September to shift from a centralized headquarters to a more distributed and remote work model. 

REI said it plans to use its first satellite location to test technology and prototype digital and physical spaces “that unlock collaboration for people spread across a variety of locations.” 

"We believe the future of work is much more fluid," said Chris Putur, REI's executive VP of technology and operations. "We're building the future around the work that needs to get done, and creating flexible, agile and inclusive ways to deliver innovation for our customers – and we no longer believe we need a traditional office model to do so."

REI noted that while some essential on-site roles will require physical office space, most employees will have much more flexibility in where and how they log in for work.   Instead of dedicated workspaces, each employee can choose the combination of locations that best suit their role, work and team on a given day—including satellite offices, coffee shops, home offices or even local parks, the company said. 

"This will require us to adopt a completely different way of thinking, as we design a model that ensures every employee is just as engaged, connected and productive, whether they're working from a home, improvised or REI office," said Putur.