‘Live and work anywhere’ – TechCrunch

Airbnb is banking on the “live anywhere, work anywhere” philosophy that much of the business world has been forced to adopt, committing to full-time remote work for most employees and a handful of perks like 90 working days/international travel . It’s a strong and simple policy that so few big companies have had the courage to match.

In an email to employees posted on the company blog (or was it a blog post sent to employees?), and in a Twitter thread for those who can’t be bothered, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky described the new policy, summarizing 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 pay will not change
  • You have the flexibility to travel and work around the world
  • Let’s meet regularly for dates
  • We will continue to work in a highly coordinated manner

They’re pretty self-explanatory, obviously, but just to be clear, let’s review them.

With the exception of “a small number of roles” for whom presence in an office or location is required (and who probably already know this), all employees can work from wherever they want.

If you want to move, as long as you stay in the country, your payment will not change. Wherever you go in the US, for example, you’ll get the same salary, and it’s expected to be enough whether you live in a small town in Colorado or downtown Manhattan. Unfortunately, if you decide to permanently move to London or Seoul, that is “much more complex so we won’t be able to support them this year”.

While workers will need a permanent address, they will have dozens of companies and places to work for up to 90 days a year – so stick around for a while and work in this village for a week or two after your vacation. Why not? Well, possibly because remote work visas may not be available for these areas, but this is a work in progress. (They’re adding partners to a big list here.)

Chesky says everyone “will meet regularly,” though Airbnb likely has around 15,000 employees at this point. That’s even more than TechCrunch! They will have “out of limited venues” in 2022, which is probably smart, but next year you can “expect to meet in person every quarter for about a week at a time.” I really don’t understand how they can do any work there.

The last point seems kind of superfluous and self-congratulatory, but it’s probably good to officially note that the general way of working at the company, or how people are managed and so on, will not change because of this new policy.

Many companies announced interim policies with the understanding that they would be reviewed in a few months. There is a lot of talk about the “hybrid” or “flexible” model, where employees work in the office for a few days and then at home the rest of the time. Depending on where and how you work, this can be the best or worst of both worlds. But it suggests a certain lack of determination in leadership. (Among the early adopters of full-time remote work was Twitter, which may soon be under new leadership.)

And then there’s the issue of safety and responsibility. Activision Blizzard, already half-fubar, demanded a return to the office and then suspended its vaccine mandate. How someone noted at the time“don’t die for this company” or any other company.

Perhaps Airbnb is the guinea pig for this particular type of “fully remote workplace” and every other company will be watching and waiting for the company to run into some new tax burden or productivity issue. But the simplicity and flexibility of the policy, despite international legal restrictions, can overcome any new problems it creates.

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