Airbnb staff can now choose to work remotely forever with no loss of pay, its CEO says

Business Insider US
Alexander Tamargo / Contributor / Getty Images
Alexander Tamargo / Contributor / Getty Images
  • Airbnb is letting staff "live and work from anywhere," CEO Brian Chesky announced on Thursday. 
  • Staff will be able to work flexibly from where they want and won't lose pay, Chesky said in a memo. 
  • From September, they'll also be able to spend up to 90 days working in 170 countries globally.
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Airbnb is going all out to accommodate its staff's desire for more flexible working arrangements. 

"Today, we're announcing that Airbnb employees can live and work anywhere," CEO and founder Brian Chesky said in a Tweet on Thursday, announcing the permanent flexible-working plans.  

Under the benefit, the majority of staff will be given the flexibility to choose to work from where "they're most productive" Chesky explained in an email to staff. This includes the choice of being able to work anywhere within their home country, without a loss of pay. 

From September, they'll also be able to spend up to 90 days abroad — although they will still be required to have a permanent address for tax purposes. They will also be responsible for organising authorisation from respective local governments, as per the email. 

Employers are under pressure to give their employees a greater say over where, and how they work. A majority of white-collar employees are reluctant to return to the office full time, following Covid-19 lockdowns.

"Our business wouldn't have recovered as quickly from the pandemic if it hadn't been for millions of people working from Airbnbs," Chesky said. "We also had the most productive two-year period in our company's history — all while working remotely."

A small number of workers in core responsibilities will be required onsite permanently, and have already been informed, the email said. The company still plans to hold in-person events, and most staff should expect to gather in person for up to a week every quarter. 

Location-based pay has been a particular point of tension. Facebook, now Meta, enraged some staffers when Mark Zuckerberg suggested workers' salaries may be adjusted, in some cases reduced, if they moved to a location with a cheaper cost of living.  

While other firms have been reluctant to give staff the freedom to work from anywhere due to complications over tax and payroll, Chesky said he hoped Airbnb can "open-source" a solution so other companies can offer this flexibility as well.

From June, the company will introduce single pay tiers, and increase the pay of staff whose salary was previously set using a lower location-based pay tier, the memo said. 

Airbnb is keen to capitalise on workers' desire for a more nomadic lifestyle

Airbnb, which completed an IPO in 2020, has more than 5,000 staff worldwide. 

Chesky sees clear benefits in embracing flexibility, both for workers and Airbnb's business model. In January, he announced he was living on the platform, staying in a different town or city every few weeks.

The CEO noted in the latest memo that 20% of stays booked on the platform during the second half of 2021 were for stays of longer than a month. He said he's keen to capitalise on what he's previously termed as a "decentralisation of living" that's left a growing number of workers seeking a more flexible and nomadic way of working.

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