What was once a temporary solution to the onset of the pandemic has now become a more permanent reality for millions of professionals (including Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky) across the globe – the ability and desire to live and work from anywhere. Survey after survey shows employees’ desire for workplace flexibility even after the pandemic recedes. A 7,500-consumer survey we commissioned across five countries found that nearly two-thirds (63%) of all respondents have come to expect more flexibility from their employers – and employers around the world are taking note.
Employers double down on flexibility
Global businesses from Amazon to Dropbox are getting creative with their flexible working policies, announcing everything from going fully remote, to a hybrid approach, to even temporary abroad programs encouraging employees to work while traveling the globe.
In 2021, Amazon announced a hybrid working approach, empowering corporate employees to work with their teams to choose the path best fit for their lifestyle. This flexible approach includes the ability for corporate employees to work up to four weeks per year fully remote from any location within their country of employment.
Dropbox became one of the earliest adopters of a formal flexible working policy in October 2020, introducing “Virtual First,” a robust program establishing remote work, outside an office, as the primary experience for all employees and the day-to-day default for individual work.
Employees turn to Airbnb to live and work from anywhere
Employees are taking advantage of their newfound flexibility, setting up their “office” anywhere and everywhere their wifi will allow, from their kitchen table at a neighborhood Airbnb to a bucket-list beach across the globe.
During the pandemic, Salesforce introduced Success from Anywhere, which gives employees flexibility where, when and how they work. Salesforce employees enjoy the new flexibility they have, but also still want opportunities to come together and reconnect safely with their teams. With Airbnb, Salesforce employees can travel to an offsite or another office location and stay at an Airbnb of their choosing.
“The past two years have taught us that flexibility is the future. But what we’ve gained in personal flexibility, we’ve lost in human connection,” said Brent Hyder, President and Chief People Officer at Salesforce. “So we’re providing opportunities for teams to safely come together and reconnect, and letting our employees use services like Airbnb so they can travel on their own terms.”
Global communications agency Weber Shandwick announced a permanent hybrid model for its employees. This year, the agency will also allow all employees to work remotely for one month – whether that means remote from home, or remote from a new location.
“With work and graduate school going virtual these past couple years, I’ve been living and working in listings on Airbnbs throughout the country, completing my goal of visiting all 50 states while still continuing my career,” said Andrew Cook, employee at Weber Shandwick. “Being on the move but still having a safe, stable place to work and live from has helped me battle both pandemic burnout and work-from-home fatigue.”
In 2021, Paddle, a UK startup that provides payments infrastructure for SaaS companies, launched an innovative hybrid working policy. The program, named Navigate, allows every Paddle employee to work from anywhere in the world for six weeks per year. The program, which has so far proved extremely popular, aims to give employees greater flexibility and freedom to enjoy their work and personal lives, while fostering a culture of trust and empowerment that will drive greater productivity and help attract the best talent to the business.
To help each ‘Paddler’ make the most of this opportunity the company provides every employee with £250 ($340) in Airbnb credits.
“I struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in the winter, but I don’t tend to want a holiday in January as it’s a really energizing working month for me. It was great to be able to book a week in Cyprus using Airbnb, which has nearly two more hours of daylight, to break up the dark winter season whilst being able to work.”
Majama Tutani, Internal Comms Lead and Project Manager at Paddle
Rise in long-term stays on Airbnb
On Airbnb’s platform specifically, we have seen a rise in long-term stays as employees take advantage of their newfound flexibility:
- One out of every five gross nights booked in Q3 were for stays of 28 days or longer.
- Nearly half of nights booked in Q3 were for stays of at least seven days, up from 44% in 2019.
- In the 12 months through September, more than 100,000 guests booked stays lasting 90 days or longer.
This flexible, Live Anywhere trend is like a decentralization of living, and it’s changing the identity of travel. Among the trends we expect to see this year are:
- People will continue to spread out to thousands of towns and cities, and they will stay for weeks, months, or even longer.
- More people will start living abroad, others will travel for the entire summer, and some will even give up their leases and become digital nomads.
- Cities and countries will compete to attract these remote workers, and it will lead to a redistribution of where people travel and live.