Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, who lets employees work from anywhere, says many executives mandating a return to the office have double standards.
Chesky discussed work models in an interview with Nilay Patel on an episode of the “Decoder” podcast published Tuesday.
“I guarantee you that many of these CEOs who are calling people back to the office in New York City are going away to the Hamptons for the summer or going to Europe in August,” Chesky said. “I still think that’s happening. So you still have incremental flexibility. That’s way more than the old world before Zoom.”
Airbnb announced last year that it would allow employees to “live and work from anywhere” without pay loss if they stayed in their home countries. After the announcement, the company’s careers page drew more than 800,000 views.
“Airbnb had the most productive two-year period in our company’s history — all while working remotely.”, Chesky confirmed. “I don’t think most people will find that they need 100% of their workforce together 50 weeks a year to do that.”
It’s all about balance: Chesky thinks his employees are more productive working remotely, but that “we don’t want to recreate this world of ‘Wall-E’ where everyone’s just staring at screens all day and no one has any interaction in the physical world.”
In San Francisco, the home of Airbnb’s global headquarters, roughly 18.4 million square feet of office space downtown is vacant, and more than 30% of office buildings have space available to lease or sublease, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.