🎙 The Digital Nomads Daily Podcast Episode #94
The Future of Work by Embracing Corporate Nomadism with Q (Ex-Airbnb)
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Listen to our episode with Q (ex-Airbnb)
🔥 What is corporate nomadism?
🔥 Why the digital nomad lifestyle is not just for freelancers
🔥 How did Airbnb successfully let people work from anywhere.
🔥 How can your organization thrive in the future of remote work.
🔥 Key Insights from former Airbnb’s People Leader.
“Spreading humanity and learning from each other is a win-win for everyone.”
What is corporate nomadism?
The idea of working remotely from anywhere in the world has been around for a while, we see digital nomad freelancers and solopreneurs, traveling business owners and people who move around slowly call themselves slowmads. Since the pandemic, we see more companies embracing remote work and pioneer remote-first companies like Airbnb showing a new concept that former Airbnb Global People Ops Leader, Q, calls Corporate Nomadism.
While many companies have realized that remote work can offer many benefits, including increased productivity, reduced overhead costs, and access to a wider pool of talent, there is still a long way to make the digital nomad the new normal though He shares that leaders need to understand that it’s not just about sipping coconuts on the beach, but about intentional and effective remote work.
The benefits of corporate nomadism
One of the benefits of corporate nomadism is the ability for employees to experience different cultures. By empowering individuals with the choice to work from different parts of the world, they can learn from each other and spread humanity. This can lead to a more diverse and inclusive workplace, which can ultimately benefit the organization.
Risks companies face when employees work from anywhere
There are risks and challenges that come with supporting employees who want to work remotely from different countries. Employers need to invest heavily in supporting their employees and assessing the risks involved, such as payroll implications, tax, legal, and compliance issues. Additionally, there is a risk to the company’s brand if they do not handle the transition to remote work properly.
The Live and Work Anywhere program by Airbnb
Airbnb, a company all digital nomads use to find accommodation, is also known for its innovation. Since they launched the Live and Work Anywhere program designed to support employees and provide them with a unique remote work experience, they received a flood of job applications and it has become a top remote-first company.
Q lead the ideating and incubating of the program, which eventually became Airbnb’s formal Live & Work Anywhere program in 2022. You might have read online about the 1 million hits on their careers page which wasn’t anticipated at first. Read further to learn more about the key features of the Live and Work Anywhere program.
Flexibility and choice to work from home or the office
So the first one was, you know, employees can work from home or the office. It is purely their choice. They recognized that each individual knows what’s best for them to our initial topic of empowering employees to choose what they want versus telling them what they want to do. So this could mean I could go into an office five days a week, I could never go into an office. It all depends on what works best for me at a given time. So flexibility and choice.
The ability to move anywhere in the country without a change in compensation
One of the key features of the program was that employees could move anywhere in the country where they worked in and their compensation would not change. This was a big shift from the normal way of running compensation philosophies, especially in the US and Canada where location-based compensation is the norm. This allowed individuals to choose where they wanted to be and helped shift the paradigm from being forced to work in a certain location to have the freedom to choose.
The flexibility to travel and work around the world
The third feature of Airbnb’s Live & Work Anywhere program is the flexibility for employees to travel and work around the world, which Q calls “corporate nomadism” and is on a mission to make it mainstream. The fourth feature is organized gatherings to maintain in-person connections, where the company meets to work on one roadmap in a highly coordinated way. During the pandemic, Airbnb’s offices were closed, so they had a running experiment for two years with remote work.
Organized gatherings to maintain in-person connections
Q discusses the importance of strengthening relationships and in-person connections, even in a remote work setting. He explains that while remote work can be productive, it’s essential to recharge and have moments of connection. This is especially important for the digital nomad community, who may not have a consistent physical workplace to connect with colleagues. Q emphasizes the need to find ways to build relationships and maintain connections, whether it’s through organized gatherings or other means.
This program created an extraordinary opportunity for Airbnb to become industry leaders in the future of work by leveraging their existing business model to enable their employees to live and work anywhere.
The future of work is Corporate Nomadism it can be a win-win
Q believes that corporate nomadism can be a win-win situation for both employers and employees and he is on a mission to make it mainstream, not just for freelancers but for remote workers too. More and more companies are adopting remote work policies, and many are embracing the idea of corporate nomadism. By allowing their employees to work remotely from different parts of the world, companies can create a more diverse and inclusive workplace, and provide their employees with a unique and rewarding experience.
If you’re interested in learning more about corporate nomadism, check out the full podcast episode with Q.
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