As the world continues to navigate unprecedented challenges, the way we work has undergone a transformative shift. Organizations worldwide have embraced hybrid and remote working models to adapt to the ever-changing landscape. During our August webinar, we delved into the critical aspects of the contemporary work environment and the policies that shape it with Q Hamirani, the man behind Airbnb’s Digital Nomad program (now called their Live & Work Anywhere program) and now Chief People Officer at Paper.
Check out the full 45-minute webinar below or read on for a brief synopsis of 3 of our favorite questions that Q answered related to hybrid and remote work (obviously we loved every Q&A, but you’ll have to watch the recap to hear them all).
1.) Let’s go back to your time at Airbnb. Can you talk about that time period and how Airbnb adapted to the world’s abrupt shift to remote work?
Pre-pandemic, Airbnb was not a remote company. When the pandemic hit, we were forced overnight to become a remote-first company. At this time, we went into a giant two-year remote work experiment. Much quicker, in about 9 months, we realized that we were very productive in a remote working environment. We then told ourselves we should stop worrying about the day-to-day in terms of when our employees are online, but should instead focus on output. This is how our Live & Work Anywhere program was developed because we realized we could live and work from anywhere and still produce great work.
2.) From a working policy standpoint, what are some of the things you’ve seen work, and not work, across your career?
One of the things I’ve seen not work is when the policy is very one-dimensional or very strict. You have to think about the different personas and departments within your organization and understand that your policy can’t be one size fits all.
On the flip side, what I’ve seen work is having flexibility. What we did at Airbnb was four-fold…
1.) Employees could choose to work from the office or from home. It was completely their choice.
2.) If employees moved, their compensation wouldn’t change. This was in light of us realizing that location-based pay was a bit counterintuitive to our belief that output is what drives results, so we moved to value-based pay.
3.) We were conscious of the fact that in-person connection was needed, so we made it a point to have the entire team get together in-person at least twice a year.
4.) We allowed employees to work from anywhere in the world as long as they had the appropriate visa requirements, and they could stay up to 90 days in each country. Theoretically, you could be a nomad and live and work from 4-5 countries throughout the year.
3.) What are your thoughts on hiring and interviewing in a remote environment - has it made things harder or easier?
Definitely harder, especially in the context of assessing talent and because the talent pool has become much larger. It’s also become much harder to collaborate amongst the team on hiring decisions, so it’s important now more than ever to be very intentional about the technology you’re using to hire and interview talent.
Thanks to Q for joining us, and see you on September 28th for our next monthly webinar, which will be a DEI panel with Torin Ellis (DEI consultant & coach), Rocki Howard (The Mom Project), & Israel Gutierrez (former Axios & New York Times).