Realising that the pandemic did not hamper productivity even though the workforce was working remotely, Brian Chesky, CEO, Airbnb, wrote to his employees that the Company has decided to let them live and work from anywhere. The best part is, no matter where the employees decide to move to or work from, their compensation will not change.
Chesky has explained to his employees that “the world is becoming more flexible about where people can work” and “we wouldn’t have recovered so quickly from the pandemic had it not been for millions of people working from Airbnbs”.
He admits that Airbnb does not want to “limit our talent pool to a commuting radius around our offices” because after all, “the best people live everywhere, not concentrated in one area”. Airbnb clearly intends to recruit “from a diverse set of communities” to become “a more diverse company”.
He goes on to say that he has complete trust in his employees and “flexibility only works when you trust the people on your team”. Since the employees have “shown how much you can accomplish remotely,” in the past two years, “it’s clear that flexibility works for Airbnb”.
However, he admits that in-person collaboration is also missed, and that connections cannot be maintained well virtually alone. Therefore, the Company has come up with a new way of working.
The majority of the employees will have the flexibility to work from anywhere, office or home, wherever they feel they are most productive. Only a few will be required to be physically present to discharge their core functions.
Chesky informed the employees that with effect from June, Airbnb will have “single pay tiers by country for both salary and equity”. That means, those whose salaries were set basis a lower location-based pay tier, may even get a hike! All the employees will need to do is “talk to your managers about performance and time zone expectations, as well as your availability for team gatherings”. Chesky clarified that “permanent international moves are much more complex, so we won’t be able to support those this year”.
Come September, and employees of Airbnb “can live and work in over 170 countries for up to 90 days a year in each location”. They will only need a permanent address for tax and payroll purposes.
Airbnb will prioritise “meaningful in-person gatherings that will happen throughout the year”. The Ground Control team “is planning some special social events so you’ll still have opportunities to spend time together”, possibly every quarter, says Chesky in his mail.
“The backbone of how we operate will continue to be our single company calendar with our multi-year roadmap,” clarifies Chesky, which will be centred around and aligned with “two major product releases each year” one in May and one in November. Coordination will be ensured “by primarily operating on Pacific Standard Time in the US”. Employees outside of the US will continue to follow their current schedule.
Interestingly, last year, 20 per cent of Airbnb’s nights were booked for long stays of over a month, while 50 per cent bookings were for stays that were more than a week long.