July 19, 2024
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Overstaffed Patagonia tells 90 employees to relocate or be laid off

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In part because its customer service ranks are overstaffed, Ventura-based Patagonia is giving 90 of those employees the option of relocating or being laid off.

Most have opted to leave and receive severance packages, Patagonia spokesman J.J. Huggins told the Business Times June 27

“And that was expected, and totally reasonable,” he said.

But the primary reason for giving the 90 employees the option of relocating to the company’s seven “hub” cities around the country was for them to be closer to Patagonia’s workplace culture, Huggins said.

“Workplace culture is really integral to Patagonia,” he said.

All of the firm’s 255 so-called “customer experience” employees work remotely. 

Except for 90 of them, they live within the required 60 miles of the seven cities: Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Reno and Salt Lake City.

Huggins said the company had to “staff up” its customer service staff during the pandemic.

But post-pandemic, “we are currently at 200% or 300% overstaffed for much of the year in our customer experience department, and that just isn’t sustainable,” he said.

“We need to remain a healthy business,” he said.

Huggins said it’s been a challenge for the company to maintain its workplace culture with employees who work far from the seven hub cities.

Employees who live in or near the municipalities have access to other Patagonia employees, in-person training and events, and more interaction with the firm’s stores, Huggins said.

“Our Ventura campus is a gathering place for employees and like-minded people,” he said. “We’ve got onsite childcare, a great cafeteria, and more.”

Though they live in or near the hub cities, those customer reps don’t have to come into the office, Huggins said. They can continue to work remotely.

Patagonia has about 3,000 employees worldwide, most in the U.S.

email: mharris@pacbiztimes.com