Airbnb moves to a fully remote workplace: “Live and work anywhere”

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Airbnb is fully committed to the “live anywhere, work anywhere” philosophy that much of the business world has been forced to adopt, offering full-time remote work for most employees and a range of perks such as 90 days of international work/travel. . It’s a strong and simple policy that so few large companies have had the guts to live up to.

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In a letter to employees published on the company blog (or was it a blog post emailed to employees?), and in a Twitter thread for those who aren’t bothered, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky laid out the new policy, summarizing it in five points:

  • You can work from home or office
  • You can move anywhere in the country where you work and your compensation will not change.
  • You have the opportunity to travel and work around the world
  • We will meet regularly for gatherings
  • We will continue to work together
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They obviously speak for themselves, but just to be clear, let’s run through them.

Apart from the “few roles” that require an office or on-site presence (and who probably already know about it), all employees can work from anywhere.

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If you wish to relocate while you remain in the country, your salary will not change. For example, wherever you go in the US, you will receive the same salary, and there is hope that it will be enough, whether you live in a small town in Colorado or in midtown Manhattan. Unfortunately, if you decide to move permanently to London or Seoul, it’s “much more difficult, so we won’t be able to support them this year.”

Although the workers will need a permanent address, they will have dozens of companies and offices where they can work up to 90 days a year – so stay in Lisbon for a while and work in this villa for a week or two after your vacation. Why not? Well, maybe because telecommuting visas may not be available for those areas, but it’s all a work in progress. (They add partners to a large list of more here.)

Chesky says they will all be “meeting regularly,” though Airbnb likely has about 15,000 employees at the moment. It’s even bigger than TechCrunch! In 2022 they will have “a limited number of offsite events”, which is probably reasonable, but next year you can “expect to meet in person every quarter for about a week”. I really don’t understand how they can even do anything there.

The last point seems redundant and self-righteous, but it’s probably a good idea to go on record and say that the general way the company works, or how people are managed, etc., will not change because of this new policy.

Many companies have announced preliminary policies with the understanding that they will be revised in a few months. There is a lot of talk about a “hybrid” or “agile” model, where employees work from the office for several days and the rest of the time at home. Depending on where and how you work, this could be the best or worst of both worlds. But this speaks of a certain lack of decisiveness in the leadership.

And then there is the issue of safety and responsibility. Activision Blizzard, already furious, authorized a return to the office, then withdrew their vaccination mandate. like someone noticed at the time“don’t die for this company” or for any company, for that matter.

Perhaps Airbnb will be the guinea pig for this particular type of “fully remote workspace” and all other companies will watch and wait for the company to stumble over some new huge tax burden or performance issue. But the simplicity and flexibility of the policy, despite international legal constraints, may outweigh any new problems it creates.

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