Patagonia tells remote employees to relocate or lose their jobs

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Patagonia asked 90 remote workers to either move closer to the outdoor clothing company’s seven hubs or leave the company.

Business Insider reported earlier this week the 90 customer service employees have been asked to pack their bags and find a new place to live no further than 60 miles from Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Reno or Salt Lake City.

Patagonia wanted a verdict from each of those workers by Friday, three days after it announced it would be completely moving to a “hub” model for the customer service team.

The outdoor clothing retailer, which is headquartered in California, has been testing “hubs” in those seven cities for the past year, Patagonia spokesperson J.J. Huggins told FOX Business.

The 250-person customer experience team began working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic and is Patagonia’s only fully virtual team, he said. 

Huggins said “most” of the team members already live near Reno.

Patagonia will work with employees who tell the company they need more time to decide about relocation, according to the company spokesperson.

The relocation deadline for those agreeing to move is Sept. 30, Business Insider reported. Patagonia is offering a $4,000 stipend to those who move.

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Huggins said the “hubs” are part of Patagonia’s efforts to revitalize its company culture after major disruption from the coronavirus pandemic.

The “hubs” will help Patagonia improve service, he said. He also said the team would integrate better into Patagonia’s culture and programming at the hubs, where the company has retail stores and other employees.

The company does not yet know how many of the 90 employees would move or leave the company because, according to Huggins, it was “still in flux.” However, “some” did agree to relocate “right away,” and others quickly signaled they would not, he said.

Business Insider reported one worker who declined to relocate called the severance packages generous. They include wages, bonuses, health care, a stipend for technology and career support, according to Huggins.

The customer service team makes up roughly 8% of Patagonia’s global workforce of about 3,000. The unit has been overstaffed for some time, Business Insider reported.

The outdoor clothing company operates over 70 retail locations, with offices in multiple countries around the world, according to its website.

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