Startups & Growth

Airbnb joins Twitter, Reddit, Dropbox; finally admits remote work wins

The new 5-point WFH policy will affect at least 6,000 US-based Airbnb employees


Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky on Thursday announced the company’s 5-point plan to enable employees to live and work anywhere, all the time.

Ostensibly because “The world has become more flexible”, and “We also had the most productive two-year period in our company’s history — all while working remotely” (presumably, also: massive decrease in operating costs; consequent increase in profit margins).

Credit: Twitter CEO Brian Chesky on Twitter.

More highlights from Chesky’s thread include the ability to move anywhere in the US without any change in compensation; in-person team gatherings facilitated quarterly; and the implementation of a multi-year roadmap with two product releases per year, to “keep us working in a highly coordinated way”, said Chesky’s tweet.

This remote-led policy will impact the lives of Airbnb’s 15,000-ish employees — around 6,000 of whom are US-based — and comes more than two years following the initial wave of pandemic-induced remote work policies being implemented by many other tech multinationals, including Reddit, Twitter, and Dropbox.

What sets Airbnb’s announcement apart somewhat is its decision to standardize pay regardless of location. As noted by Mitchell Clark for The Verge, “employees at Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta, and Microsoft will have to take a pay cut if they want to move to an area with a lower cost of living, according to reports like this one by the BBC.”

Some online forums predict a mass exodus of employees from more expensive cities to Nashville, for example — where Airbnb’s San Francisco-level salaries would be “game changing” [sic] — signaling, once again, this now mighty scaleup’s sustained influence over global housing and migration trends.

If there are any lessons in this story for startups, it’s probably in how much positive press you can generate when you give laptop-bound adults the freedom to choose where they want to live and work. Plus, with more countries catching on to the idea of “Digital Nomad” visas, it’s easier and more cost-effective than ever before to build your dream team, entirely remotely.

Published April 29, 2022 - 1:50 pm UTC

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