‘Living and working everywhere’ – MovieUpdates

Airbnb is going all-in on the “live anywhere, work anywhere” philosophy that much of the business world has been forced to adopt, focusing on full-time remote work for most employees and a handful of perks like 90 days work/travel internationally . It’s a strong, simple policy that so few big companies have had the guts to do.

In an email to employees posted on the company blog (or was it a blog post emailed to employees?), and in a Twitter thread for those who don’t care, Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, outlined the new policy and summarized it in five points:

  • You can work from home or in the office
  • You can move anywhere in the country where you work and your compensation will not change
  • You have the flexibility to travel and work all over the world
  • We will meet regularly for gatherings
  • We will continue to work in a very coordinated manner

They’re obviously pretty obvious, but let’s break them down for the sake of clarity.

Apart from “a small number of roles” that require presence in an office or location (and who probably already know this), all employees can work from wherever they want.

If you want to move, your pay will not change as long as you stay in the country. Wherever you go in the US, for example, you get the same pay, and you hope it will be enough, whether you live in a small town in Colorado or in midtown Manhattan. Unfortunately, if you decide you want to move to London or Seoul permanently, this is “much more complex, so we can’t support those this year.”

Although employees need a permanent address, they have dozens of companies and locations where they can work up to 90 days a year – so stay in Lisbon for a while and work from that villa for a week or two after your vacation. Why not? Well, possibly because remote work visas might not be available for those areas, but that’s all work in progress. (They add partners to a big list here.)

Chesky says they will all “meet on a regular basis,” although Airbnb likely has about 15,000 employees right now. That’s even more than MovieUpdates! They’ll have “limited off-sites” in 2022, which is probably smart, but next year you can “expect to meet in person for about a week at a time every quarter.” I really don’t understand how they could ever get a job there.

The last point seems a bit redundant and complimentary, but it’s probably good to state officially that the general way of working at the company, or how people are managed, etc., won’t be changed by this new policy.

Many companies have announced tentative policies with an agreement that they will be reviewed in a few months. There is a lot of talk about the ‘hybrid’ or ‘flex’ model where employees work a few days in the office and the rest of the time at home. Depending on where and how you work, this can be the best or worst of both worlds. But it does suggest a certain lack of decisiveness in leadership. (One of the early adopters of full-time remote work has been Twitter, which may soon have new leadership.)

And then there is the issue of safety and liability. Already a fubar of sorts, Activision Blizzard mandated a return to office and then lifted their vaccine mandate. if someone noticed at the time“don’t die for this company”, or any company for that matter.

Perhaps Airbnb will be the guinea pig for this particular type of “completely remote workplace” and all the other companies will watch and wait for the company to tuck its toes at a massive new tax burden or productivity issue. But the policy’s simplicity and flexibility, despite international legal restrictions, could outweigh any new problems it creates.

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