Those who don’t embrace remote work are ‘disadvantaged’

Airbnb’s shift to a remote working model has received accolades since its unveiling on April 28, with one reviewer calling it “the best hybrid working plan” to be announced to date.

Under its new policy, salaries for U.S. and Canadian employees will be determined by a single pay level for a given role instead of location-based levels, and starting in September, the more than 6,000 employees at Airbnb will have the choice of working up to three months a year from more than 170 countries.

Brian Chesky, CEO and co-founder of Airbnb, has been quietly preparing to sideline the company since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic – but he hasn’t taken inspiration from competitors or famous Fortune 500 names.

“Nobody did what we did,” he told CNBC Make It at an event Tuesday celebrating “The Airbnb 2022 Summer Release,” which includes a suite of new products and site design. website. “We didn’t invent remote work, but almost no company offered this model.”

Chesky, however, studied young tech companies that had embraced remote working long before the pandemic while crafting Airbnb’s policy. “If you want to predict the future, you don’t look at big companies or older companies – you look at young companies, especially for [work] cultural,” he says.

He compares remote working to the open office floor plan, which only gained traction in the early 2000s when Google, Meta and other Silicon Valley start-ups popularized the trend. Likewise, adds Chesky, small businesses with 20 or fewer employees have led the shift to remote working.

Airbnb’s “work from anywhere” model is not only forward-thinking, Chesky says, but unique in its approach to wages, because “almost everyone” with flexible work policies still binds the salary of employees at their location.

Some of the first big tech companies to adopt flexible working models, including Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Google, have said their existing policies – which state that people who move to a cheaper market could see a pay cut – will remain. in force. place.

Chesky called location-based salaries an “outdated model,” but a structure that companies are unlikely to scrap anytime soon due to the “administrative burden” that comes with overhauling a compensation structure that managers struggle with. support for decades. “Most companies, HR teams and finance teams don’t want to deal with this,” he says.

Airbnb’s work-from-anywhere model is designed to help the company recruit top talent and diversify its candidate pool.

“The most talented people aren’t in San Francisco anymore…and they’re not here in New York,” he says. “The most talented people are everywhere now – and if I need engineers, designers, product managers or marketers, they’re so spread out that if you limit your talent pool to the radius of the community , you are probably at a disadvantage.”

Every CEO, he adds, will have to do a careful calculation of how they’ll get through this tumultuous work period: “Do I get greater productivity by keeping you tied to a desk and limiting my talent pool? talents or allowing people to work from Ohio, Canada or elsewhere?” he says. “Most of us have found that we benefit from being more flexible.”

To verify:

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Maria D. Ervin