The latest way Airbnb is pioneering the future of the workforce


Airbnb (NASDAQ: ABNB) helped revolutionize the travel industry and now seeks to do the same for workers around the world. In this video clip from “The Virtual Opportunities Show” on Motley Fool live, recorded on May contributors Rachel Warren and Travis Hoium discuss the vacation rental company’s latest move to allow its employees to live and work anywhere.

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Rachel Warren: Well, I sort of think there’s a lot of pent-up demand coming back. One of the things that really strikes me about Airbnb and I think the reason I’m so bullish about the stock in general is that we’ve seen a lot of growth that the company has already begun to know, although there has been a slower return travel. Because one of the reasons is that many people live in Airbnbs, work remotely, and Airbnb is leveraging this idea more.

In fact, they just announced on April 28 their design for allowing employees to live and work anywhere. You could say Airbnb is a technology platform and they’re now one of those companies that basically say, you want to live in a different country, you want to move somewhere else in the country you already live in, well we give you the freedom to do so.

Travis Houm: Do you think they get a discount if they work at an Airbnb?

Warren: I don’t know, but that’s a very interesting point. [laughs] Did you get a discount living on an Airbnb [inaudible]?

Hoium: Bonus points, your promotion is advanced by six months. [laughs]

Warren: Wouldn’t it seem a little weird if you worked for Airbnb and chose to live somewhere in your country or in the world and didn’t choose Airbnb? [laughs]

Hoium: Are you in a Vrbo? I think that’s how you say it right now. To the right?

Warren: I feel like that would be a bit of a betrayal. [laughs] Probably not a good decision or at least you don’t tell your boss. To the right? It’s very interesting. They were saying that there are a very small number of roles that will need to be in the office or in a specific location. But overall, they said, we give you the flexibility to make the right choice based on where you’re most productive. You can move anywhere in the country where you work and your pay will not change.

They said, for example, you can move from San Francisco to Nashville, if you live in France, from Paris to Lyon. You will have the flexibility to do what is best for your life, the flexibility to choose where you want to live and work. It’s really cool. If you already live in the United States for example, let’s say you live in a big city, you want to move somewhere to the beach, you want to move a bit to the countryside. You have this freedom, your remuneration will not change. They are going to have unique compensation levels per country for salary and equity.

But here’s the other thing that I found very interesting. From September, they say you can live and work in over 170 countries for up to 90 days a year in each location. Most companies don’t because of the mountain of complexities related to taxes, payroll, and time zones. It’s true. But they hope to offer open-source solutions so that other companies can also offer the flexibility.

Basically, you want to go live and work in another country, that’s something I’ve been doing for a long time. You can go up to three months a year in each country you choose from these 170 countries, which they have not all listed. I’m not sure which ones are excluded, but I imagine there are [inaudible]

Hoium: Maybe most of them. [laughs]

Warren: Most of them. This will be most of them. There are many countries to choose from. What’s also really cool about what Airbnb does is something that I think is really interesting because it’s something that I’ve looked into myself. They actually partner with local governments in countries around the world to try to make it easier for more people around the world to travel and work.

They were saying today that more than 20 countries offer remote work visas, and more are on the way. I myself have been researching various digital nomad visa options for some time. I think it’s super cool that they’re actually trained and partnering with local governments on the ground to make this an easier and more accessible option for their employees.

They say we’re always going to have team meetings, social events. They’re going to have a lot of coordinated ways to run their teams while giving that flexibility to their employees. I think it’s really exciting.

There was an interesting take on this from Bloomberg and they were saying that Airbnb’s remote work overhaul is really about competing for talent. This could very well be the case. There’s obviously a big gap between the number of job openings we see and how the workforce is changing right now. We continue to see workers leaving their jobs in large numbers.

As mentioned earlier, Airbnb is essentially a technology platform. It’s something management has said in the past and the way the business operates I think lends itself to a lot of flexibility. I think it’s very exciting. I would be curious to see if this could set a precedent.

The fact that they not only give workers the ability to move within their own country, but to essentially live and work from anywhere, is not something we’ve seen a lot of companies do, and certainly not in the big ones that I can think of. I’m excited. I thought that was a good thing.

Rachel Warren has no position in the stocks mentioned. Travis Hoium has positions in Airbnb, Inc. The Motley Fool has positions and recommends Airbnb, Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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