Brian Chesky, CEO and co-founder of Airbnb
mike reaping | Reuters
Shared housing platform Airbnb announced that it plans to let its employees live and work where they want as other companies begin to look beyond the coronavirus pandemic and bring staff back to the office.
Brian Chesky, CEO and co-founder of the company, revealed the move on Twitter Thursday, saying staff compensation will not change if they decide to move.
“You have the flexibility to live and work in 170 countries for up to 90 days a year in each location,“ he said, without specifying which countries they will not be able to work in or the reason for the 90-day limit.
In a separate email to staff, Chesky said employees will still need a permanent address for tax and payroll purposes.
“Most companies don’t do this because of the mountain of complexities with taxes, payroll, and time zone availability, but I hope we can open up an open source solution so that other companies can offer this flexibility as well,” said in the email. .
Airbnb employees will be personally responsible for obtaining “proper work authorization,” Chesky said, adding that the San Francisco-based company is partnering with local governments to facilitate this.
“Today, more than 20 countries offer remote work visas, with more in the pipeline,” he said.
The move may be designed to inspire other companies to introduce similar remote work policies that would potentially benefit Airbnb. Airbnb did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.
The move comes as other companies begin trying to entice staff back into the office, sometimes with perks like social events and free food. However, not everyone is convinced, and some workers are reportedly leaving to join companies with more flexible remote work policies.
Chesky noted that most of his staff will meet in person every quarter for about a week at a time, adding that some will do so more frequently and that Zoom has its limitations.
“The most meaningful connections happen in person,” Chesky said. “Zoom is great for maintaining relationships, but it’s not the best way to deepen them. And some of the creative work is best done in the same room.”
He went on to say that Airbnb just had its most productive two-year stint in its history while working remotely.
“Two decades ago, Silicon Valley startups popularized open floor plans and on-site perks,” he said. “New businesses today have embraced flexibility and remote work. I think this will become the predominant way businesses work 10 years from now.”
Chesky suggested that companies will be at a “significant disadvantage” if they “limit their talent pool to a commuting radius around their offices,” since the best people live everywhere.