Prior to the pandemic, retailer REI had planned an eight-acre headquarters outside of Seattle that would have been an outdoor playground, an environment designed to motivate employees about the company’s product line, according to the Motley Fool. Now the company has abandoned those plans and is selling the site. 

More may follow. 

“There’s already fear that office buildings won’t recover for years and that post pandemic, vacancies will abound as companies seek to dump or downsize space. And large company campuses, like the one REI invested in, may also become needless in an age when workers aren’t required to gather under the same roof,” according to the article. 

According to CNET, “Apple reportedly spent $5 billion building its Cupertino, California, “spaceship” Apple Park campus. Uber will spend at least $1 billion over the next decade on the two San Francisco buildings now serving as its headquarters. And Microsoft is in the process of rebuilding its 500-acre campus in Washington, which will cost hundreds of millions of dollars. There’s one thing these sites all have in common: They’ve been pretty much empty most of this year.”

“For many tech companies, whatever this new normal becomes will likely shape how the industry works for some time. As tech companies angled for talent, they’ve popularized work culture ideas such as encouraging more artistic workspaces, free cafeterias and activities like yoga classes. Those ideas — which help entice workers to spend as much time in the office as possible — have spread throughout the tech sector,” the article said. 

What will become of this concept in the long term?

“The reality is no one really knows,” Michael Huaco, Uber’s head of workplace, said in an interview last month.