The CEO of online marketplace for lodging Airbnb, Brian Chesky has said that onsite office work has become an “anachronistic form” of work and has strongly vouched for the new work model indefinitely. Chesky told Time magazine’s Leadership Brief in an interview that concept of onsite jobs comes from “pre-digital age” which hardly makes for several career options.
He said, “I think that the office as we know it is over. It’s kind of like an anachronistic form.” He further said, “If the office didn’t exist, I like to ask, would we invent in? And if we invented it, what would it be invented for?”
Chesky also said people going to hospitals or to coffee shops for work is fine and makes absolute sense. He questioned if an office was needed at all for somebody “whose job is on a laptop.” The Airbnb boss also lambasted companies that have enacted hybrid work model as part of their return-to-office plans after many firms shifted to remote work during the COVID pandemic.
He said these companies “don’t realise this two, three days a week thing is not super sustainable.” He added virtual meetings have “limitations” as they hinder community building. Chesky mentioned, “I’m not trying to paint a rosy picture of the future; there’s going to be a lot of work out. All I’m saying is, you can’t fight the future, we can’t try to hold on to 2019 any more than 1950. We have to move forward.”
Chesky’s comments come days after Airbnb allowed its employees to work from anywhere. They will be exempt from location-based pay cuts and employees will also be allowed to live overseas for a specific period of time. Employees are also eligible for increment in June if their pay was set using a lower location-based pay tier.
The company is in the trial period of experimenting with remote working criteria.
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