The company announced that Airbnb employees will be able to work from almost anywhere they want, and won’t see their salaries raised if they move outside of urban areas.
The new model will be applied to employees in the US, but also the UK and other countries. To make it work, the company said it will focus in-person collaboration on roughly quarterly meetings and aim to pool work together on two product releases per year, said CEO and co-founder, Brian Chesky.
“We want to hire and keep the best people in the world (like you),” Chesky wrote in an email to employees. “If we limit our talent pool to moving around our offices, we will be at a huge disadvantage. The best people live everywhere, they are not concentrated in one area. And by hiring from a variety of communities, we will become a more diverse company.
“Now, I understand the concern about not seeing people in the office–how do you know your employees are doing their jobs when you can’t see them? For me, it’s simple: I trust you, and flexibility only works when you trust the people on your team.”
Employees will not be entirely free to move about as they see fit. For tax reasons, they will need to have a permanent base in the country in which they are assigned. If they are working abroad, they cannot spend more than 90 days a year in any given country, and are responsible for handling their work permit. And they still need to think about time zones, and think about how to actually get to the clusters.
Crucially, however, the company will no longer pay people based on regional differences. “Starting in June, we will have individual salary levels by country for both salary and equity,” Chesky said. “If your salary is set using a lower, location-based salary category, you will receive a raise in June.”
Other companies that have embraced remote work have been less generous. Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft are all asking employees to cut their salaries if they move somewhere with a much lower cost of living.
Airbnb is recovering from a difficult pandemic. The company whose bookings slumped as international travel slumped, It laid off a quarter of its employees in May 2020Reducing its investments in hotels and luxury apartments and discontinuing plans to move to transportation and content creation.
It went public in December 2020, an uncomfortable period for a travel-focused company, but it has maintained a market cap of about $100 billion in the 18 months since.