Full-time office work is “over”

Airbnb boss Brian Chesky is doubling down on his view that traditional full-time office jobs are an outdated notion – arguing in a recent interview that on-site work is “from a pre-digital era” that no longer makes sense for many career paths.

Chesky’s remarks came just days after Airbnb informed its current employees that they could work remotely indefinitely – a move likely to attract and retain talent in a historically tight job market that has led many companies to increase their incentives.

“I think the office as we know it is finished. It’s kind of like an anachronistic form,” Chesky said in an interview with Time Leadership Brief magazine. “If the office didn’t exist, I like to ask, would we invent it? And if we invented it, what would it be used for?

“Obviously people are still going to go to hospitals and work, people are still going to go to cafes and work – those spaces just make sense. But I think for someone whose work is on a laptop, the question is, well, what good is a desk? ” he added.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said hybrid schedules are “not super sustainable.”
Getty Images for Vox Media

Chesky has also taken aim at companies that have adopted hybrid schedules as part of their “back to the office” plans after many companies went completely remote during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Airbnb chief argued that some companies “don’t realize that this two, three day a week thing isn’t super sustainable.”

He added that the offices will continue to exist as “collaborative spaces”. He also noted that virtual meetings have “limitations” in hampering efforts to build community.

“I’m not trying to paint a rosy picture of the future; there will be a lot to work on. All I’m saying is you can’t fight the future, we can’t try to keep 2019 more than 1950. We have to move on,” he said.

Airbnb office
Airbnb allows its employees to work remotely from anywhere without having to take a pay cut.
Airbnb office
Chesky says on-site work is “from a pre-digital era” that no longer makes sense for many careers.
Getty Images for WIRED25

Chesky has personally adopted a similar schedule – revealing earlier this year that he would work in a different city every two weeks.

Last month, Airbnb announced that its employees would be allowed to live and work anywhere in the country without having to take location-based pay cuts. The company’s plan also allows workers to live overseas for part of the year and includes regular team meetings and in-person meetings.

The national unemployment rate is below 4%, forcing fierce competition between companies to attract and retain the best workers through higher wages and other benefits.

A record 4.54 million American workers quit their jobs in March in a trend known as “the great resignation”.

With Airbnb only days away from its fully remote experience, some mainstream companies have faced resistance from their employees while pushing to return to the office.

For example, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon recently noted that the bank had surpassed 50% on-site attendance – although some of the bank’s junior bankers have openly complained that managers were monitoring their attendance all the time. continuing to return five days a week.

Jose C. Birney