Yelp gives up some SF office space after employee work changes

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Yelp says its presence in San Francisco is changing as work from home plans become more permanent.

The company on Friday said it will have “a significant portion” of their employees work remotely full-time. Some will be coming in just a few days per week.

As for their headquarters in downtown San Francisco, Yelp says they’re not leaving it behind — but it won’t be the same.

“In 2020, we demonstrated that we can successfully operate with a distributed workforce. Once it’s safe to return to our offices, we plan to continue to operate with a significant portion of our team working remotely on a full-time basis, or for part of the week,” a Yelp spokesperson told KRON4. “This enables us to reduce our real estate footprint and expand our presence in lower cost markets across the United States, Canada and Europe.”

Yelp’s Chief People Officer Carolyn Patterson said they will cut down office space as leases come up for renewal, and also sublease some of their existing office space.

The idea of their new hybrid model prioritizes employees, Patterson says, “so they can live where they want to live, and work where they’ll feel most effective.”

The company will also be seeking “a lot of promising talent outside of the San Francisco Bay Area and New York,” without the requirement of moving to these expensive job hubs.

Yelp, which gives businesses a platform to advertise and users a platform to review them, is not quite following a ‘San Francisco exodus’ as seen in the last few months — although permanent work from home plans across huge companies are keeping potential newcomers out of the Bay Area once it’s safe again.

The Public Policy Director of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce said a growing number of businesses are shutting their doors during the COVID-19 pandemic as swaths of Bay Area residents started working from home for almost a year now.

c1969 Screen Shot 2021 02 19 at 11.33.15 AM Yelp gives up some SF office space after employee work changes
San Francisco home value according to Zillow

According to Zillow, house values in the city have been on a downward trajectory since shutdowns began in March 2020.

“San Francisco home values have declined -2.7% over the past year,” Zillow reports as of Jan. 31, 2021.

Back in December, Zillow said average rent rates in the city were just under $3,000, but the actual listings reflect much lower prices for top areas like the Marina and North Beach.

In the latest market report released Feb. 19, Zillow said San Francisco rent is down by 9.2%.

But it’s not just employees leaving the Bay Area. Unlike Yelp, several major companies are choosing to completely take their business elsewhere.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk criticized California as a whole, calling it ‘entitled.’

“California has been winning for a long time, and I think they’re taking it for granted,” Musk said in December.

He relocated Tesla to Texas, and other tech companies have been attracted to it as well. Oracle and Hewlett Packard also announced their moves to the the Lone Star state in the last year, citing cost savings and business needs.

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