Airbnb Opts to Give Its Technologists Remote Work Options, Flexibility

Airbnb won’t slash employees’ pay if they want to work remotely full-time, the company just announced. That’s a different approach from many other tech giants, which are trying to get employees back to the physical office at least a few days per week.  

“Starting in June, we’ll have single pay tiers by country for both salary and equity,” Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky wrote in a corporate blog posting announcing the policy. “If your pay was set using a lower location-based pay tier, you’ll receive an increase in June. Before you move, make sure to talk to your manager about performance and time zone expectations, as well as your availability for team gatherings.” 

Chesky is betting the company’s aggressive roadmap and product-release cadence will keep both remote and in-office workers disciplined. “To pull off this level of flexibility, we need ample structure and coordination,” he wrote. “Without it, things would become a free-for-all. The backbone of how we operate will continue to be our single company calendar with our multi-year roadmap. It’s centered around two major product releases each year—a May release and a November release. Even though not everyone directly works on these product releases, we’re organizing our entire calendar around them to maintain company-wide alignment.”

Airbnb will also allow employees to work from wherever they want in the world, and will schedule in-person gatherings on a regular basis. “Our collaboration sessions, off-sites, social events, and breaks will be planned in advance and designed around this [release] calendar,” Chesky added.

Other tech companies such as Google and Apple have chosen to embrace hybrid work, with employees returning to the office for a set number of days per week. While many technologists like the idea of hybrid work—according to Dice’s 2021 Technologist Sentiment Report, 85 percent of technologists said they found the prospect of hybrid work anywhere from somewhat to extremely desirable—it’s also led to some friction with employees who want to work from home full-time. Other companies, most notably Meta/Facebook, have threatened to cut employee pay if they move from a major tech hub such as Silicon Valley to somewhere with a lower cost of living.

Whatever a company’s choices about remote or hybrid work, it’s important for managers to communicate frequently with teams about everyone’s preferences. If the past two years have shown anything, it’s that technologists prize flexibility when it comes to work—and they’re more than happy to jump jobs to get it.