As the role of the office recedes, companies invest real estate savings into remote work

Katie Johnston Globe Staff,Updated December 26, 2021, 4:37 p.m.(The Boston Globe)

WALTHAM — In November 2020, Cimpress instructed its 800 Boston-area employees to come back to the Waltham office one last time to pick up their belongings. It was a surreal moment.

Like much of corporate America, the parent company of the design and marketing business Vistaprint (now Vista) had been remote since the pandemic began, and it had decided to leave behind its 300,000-square-foot buildingwith agym, cafeteria, and game room for home offices or coffee shops — or anywhere employees feel like working. Forever. Refrigerators were cleaned out. Backpacks with company logos were distributed. Chairs and monitors were up for grabs.

Chief financial officer Sean Quinn took a masked selfie in front of a banner reading, “It’s not goodbye, it’s Zoom you later!” But he wondered: “What are we if we’re not an office?”

The answer, it turns out, is a company that’s saving $9 million a year on real estate — and using most of that money to go all in on remote work.

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