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The Latest Way Airbnb Is Pioneering the Future of the Workforce

Airbnb (NASDAQ: ABNB) helped revolutionize the travel industry and now is looking to do the same for workforces around the world. In this video clip from "The Virtual Opportunities Show" on Motley Fool Live, recorded on May 3, Fool.com contributors Rachel Warren and Travis Hoium discuss the vacation rental company's newest initiative to allow its employees to live and work anywhere.

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Rachel Warren: Well, I do think on kind of a side note that there is a lot of pent-up demand that is coming back. One of the things that really strikes me about Airbnb and I think why I'm so bullish about the stock in general is we've seen a lot of growth that the company has already begun to experience, even as there has been a slower return to travel. Because one of the reasons being, you have a lot of people that are living in Airbnbs, working remotely and Airbnb is further tapping into this idea.

They actually just announced on April 28, their design for employees to live and work anywhere. Arguably, Airbnb is a tech platform and they are now one of these companies that is essentially saying, you want to live in a different country, you want to move somewhere else within the country you already live in, well we're giving you the freedom to do that.

Travis Hoium: Do you think they get a discount if they work at an Airbnb?

Warren: I don't know, but it's a really interesting point. [laughs] Did you get a discount living on a Airbnb [inaudible]?

Hoium: Bonus points, your promotional gets moved up six months. [laughs]

Warren: Wouldn't it seem a little off if you worked for Airbnb and you chose to live somewhere around your country or around the world and you didn't pick Airbnb? [laughs]

Hoium: You're in a Vrbo? I think that's how you say it right now. Right?

Warren: I feel like that would be a bit of betrayal. [laughs] Probably not a good move or at least you don't tell your boss. Right? This is very interesting. They were saying there are a very small number of roles that will be required to be in the office or a specific location. But overall, they said, we're giving you the flexibility to make the right choice based on where you're most productive. You can move anywhere in the country that you work in, and your compensation won't change.

They said, for example, you can move from San Francisco to Nashville, if you live in France, from Paris to Lyon. You'll have the ability to do what's best for your life, the flexibility to choose where you want to live and work. That's really cool. If you already live in the U.S. for example, let's say you live in a big city, you want to relocate somewhere to the beach, you want to move out in the country a bit. You have that freedom, your compensation won't change. They're going to have single-pay tiers by country for both salary and equity.

But here's the other thing that I thought was really interesting. Starting in September, they say you can live and work in over 170 countries for up to 90 days a year in each location. Most companies don't do this because of the mountain of complexities with taxes, payroll, and time zones. This is true. But they're hoping to open source solutions so other companies can offer the flexibility as well.

Essentially, you want to go live and work in another country, this is something I've been doing for a long time. You can go for up to three months a year in each country that you choose among these 170 countries, which they didn't list all of them. I'm not exactly sure which ones are excluded, but I would imagine there [inaudible]

Hoium: Maybe most of them. [laughs]

Warren: Most of them. That will be most of them. There's a lot of countries to pick from. What is also really cool about what Airbnb is doing, this is something that I think is really interesting because this is something I've looked into myself. They are actually partnering with local governments in countries around the world to try to make it easier for more people to travel and work around the world.

They were saying today, 20+ countries offer remote work visas, and more are in the works. I myself have been looking into some various digital nomad Visa options for a while. I think it's super cool that they are actually trained and partner with local governments on the ground to make this a more easy and accessible option for their employees.

They say we're still going to have team gatherings, social events. They're going to have a lot of coordinated ways to keep their teams functioning while giving their workers that flexibility. I think this is really exciting.

There was an interesting take on this from Bloomberg and they were saying Airbnb's remote work makeover is really about competing for talent. That may very well be the case. There is obviously a major gap in the amount of job openings we're seeing and the way the workforce is moving right now. We're continuing to see workers quitting their jobs in high numbers.

As mentioned earlier, Airbnb is essentially a tech platform. This is something that management has said in the past and the way the business operates, I think it does lend itself to a lot of flexibility. I think this is very exciting. I'd be curious to see if this could be somewhat precedent-setting.

The fact that they're not only giving workers the flexibility to move around in their own country, but to also essentially live and work from anywhere, is not something that we have seen a lot of companies do, and certainly not in any major ones that I can think of. I'm excited. I thought this was a great thing.

Rachel Warren has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Travis Hoium has positions in Airbnb, Inc. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Airbnb, Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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