“I think an office as we know it is an outdated notion,” Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said during the Wall Street Journal CEO Council summit on Wednesday. “It is primarily, as currently designed, an anachronistic form factor from a pre-digital era.”
He said the company was “100 per cent” planning to redevelop its offices – but admitted he wasn’t sure what it would look like.
“I thought we had a pretty cool office design before,” he said. “I would like us to be really innovative in the design of the offices and workplaces of the future and I think we have to live in this new world to understand what it will look like. But the office of the future should not look like at all the office of the past because the world is changing.”
One thing he predicted was the fall of the open office floor plan.
“The open floor plan with these meeting rooms where everyone is lining up to get in and no one can find a meeting room, I think that’s all a thing of the past.”
With its new flexible working policy, Chesky said the company expects employees to meet in person for about a week each quarter “to make sure there’s a human connection.”
The shift to remote working also means the company will spend less money on office space and have a smaller office footprint, he said, because only a small fraction of its employees will be in the office. the same time.
“We’re going to have a much smaller office footprint, we’ll probably spend a little more money on travel entertainment to bring people together…that being said, there will probably be fewer business travel meetings because a lot things can be done on Zoom.”
The San Francisco-based company told its employees last month that the majority of them can work anywhere in the country they currently work in without their pay being affected.
And starting in September, employees can also choose to work in more than 170 countries for up to 90 days a year at each location. But workers will need a permanent address for tax and salary reasons, the company noted in an April 28 email to employees.
“Most companies don’t because of the mountain of complexities with tax, payroll and time zone availability, but hopefully we can open up a solution so other companies can offer as well. this flexibility,” Chesky said in the email. .
“[That’s] wasn’t even considered a typical trip,” he said. “Our business wouldn’t have recovered without the people living and working on Airbnb.”