Some companies are seeking to reduce the footprint of their physical offices by turning to remote work.Seattle Startups convoy Is doing the opposite.
The company has just signed a new subletting contract to provide 123,000 square feet of space on the three-story building of the Russell Investment Center skyscraper in downtown Seattle. This is larger than the 73,000 square feet of space its current headquarters is located on the streets of Century Plaza.
Convoy is one of the most valuable private startups in the Seattle area. With the support of Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mark Benioff and others, the company operates a digital freight network that matches shippers with truck drivers. It raised US$400 million at a valuation of US$2.7 billion in November 2019, and employed more than 1,000 employees in offices in Seattle and Atlanta.
The company declined to disclose which tenant is subletting the space to Convoy. The 42-story building is also home to the Zillow Group, which occupies 16 floors as of March. Due to the pandemic, the real estate giant is implementing a new distributed labor model.
When Convoy signed the new lease, people questioned the future of downtown Seattle, which was no one cared about when the pandemic began because the company sent employees home.
In June of this year, Geekwire investigated a few technology company leaders about their plans to return to the office in downtown Seattle. Some people gave up their leases and moved employees to work completely remotely, while others were still worried about crime and homelessness. But many people are still committed to the city center and are happy to return and be part of the revitalization process.
The rising number of COVID-19 cases has caused some companies to postpone returning to the office. Seattle-based Expedia Group said on Wednesday that it will allow full remote work until early next year. Expedia’s decision was made after Amazon made a similar announcement last week.
Convoy shared its return to the office plan on Thursday, which is centered on a hybrid model that does not require a minimum number of working days.
“We recognize that as life begins to return to normal, the correct combination of remote and office varies from person to person,” Convoy president Mark Okerstrom said in a blog post. “The team will set aside specific days of the week for office collaboration, meetings, team activities or simply to contact each other and attend.”
The company has also created “remote qualified” roles for employees who are not in Seattle or Atlanta.
Convoy said that when it moves to the new headquarters, it will sublet the current Century Square space to another tenant.