Main image of article Airbnb CEO Thinks Remote-Working Companies Have a Talent Advantage

Are companies that allow remote work at an inherent advantage over those that demand in-office or hybrid work? Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky thinks that’s the case.

“The most talented people aren’t in San Francisco anymore … and they’re not here in New York,” Chesky recently told CNBC. “The most talented people are everywhere now—and if I need engineers, designers, product managers or marketers, they’re getting so distributed that if you limit your talent pool to community radius, you’re probably at a disadvantage.”

Earlier in May, Airbnb announced that its employees could work from anywhere without worrying about their salary being slashed. “Starting in June, we’ll have single pay tiers by country for both salary and equity,” 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.” 

Airbnb is betting that an aggressive product-release cadence and tight feedback loops between managers and team members will keep everyone disciplined and focused on the product roadmap, no matter where they’re working from. “To pull off this level of flexibility, we need ample structure and coordination,” Chesky added in that posting. “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.”

Numerous surveys have emphasized technologists’ interest in remote work. In many cases, technologists are leaving their current roles over the issue. In one notable example, Ian Goodfellow, a director of machine learning at Apple, resigned over the company’s hybrid-work policy, which required employees to come into the office three days per week; he wanted more flexibility for his team.

Fortunately, numerous employers continue to offer up all-remote jobs to technologists, including software developer/engineer, IT support specialist, cybersecurity expert, project manager, web developer, and many more. For these companies, the ability to pull talent from anywhere across the country could translate into a substantial competitive advantage.