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Airbnb Will Allow Employees To Work Remotely Forever, Bucking Big Tech Trend
The property rental pioneer's 6,000 employees never need to return to the office--and they can even work internationally.
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky just announced a permanently remote option for the company's 6,000 employees. (Credit: Getty / Alexander Tamargo)
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3 minute read

As mask mandates dissipate and U.S. employers finally confront the long-debated “return to office” question, Airbnb has become the latest tech heavyweight to fully embrace remote work.

Airbnb's 6,000 employees will have the option to work remotely forever if they want to, the company announced on Friday. The new policy also contains a few unusual caveats. Pay won’t change based on location, meaning employees won’t face pay cuts if they move to a cheaper city outside of the company’s San Francisco headquarters. And, starting in September, they’ll also be able to live and work in 170 countries for up to 90 days per year in each location. (The company had originally planned to bring workers back to cubicules in September 2022.)

“Two decades ago, Silicon Valley startups popularized open floor plans and on-site perks,” tweeted CEO and cofounder Brian Chesky. “Today’s startups have embraced flexibility and remote work. I think this will become the predominant way companies work 10 years from now.”

About 55% of remote workers say they would consider leaving their job if management told them to return to the office, according to a Morning Consult poll, and slews of companies and smaller startups have announced plans to let workers stay remote indefinitely--in part to attract and retain talent in a hot job market.

But tech giants have been surprisingly reticent. Some, like Google, have even spent billions of dollars during the pandemic to build luxurious new offices in major hubs including Silicon Valley, London and New York City. Google and Apple both began requiring workers to spend at least three days per week in the office starting in early April, while others like Amazon and Meta are taking a more team-by-team approach. Netflix's CEO Reed Hastings notably called remote work a “pure negative” in a late 2020 interview with The Wall Street Journal. Twitter is among the few big tech companies to say its workers can remain permanently remote.

Airbnb’s announcement follows a tumultuous two-plus years for the company. The outset of the pandemic sent Airbnb into turmoil, and it laid off roughly 1,900 employees in May 2020. It soon recovered as some newly remote workers embraced digital nomadism and flocked to Airbnb rentals. The company went public in December 2020, fetching a valuation north of $100 billion--the year’s biggest IPO. (Its market capitalization has held relatively steady in the 16 months since.)

More change could be afoot for the 14-year-old company. As CEO Chesky hinted in the Twitter thread announcement Friday: “To pull this off, we'll operate off of a multi-year roadmap with two major product releases a year, which will keep us working in a highly coordinated way.”

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