The pandemic has taught many of us – and our employers – that an office full of people is not the only way to run a business, and Airbnb agrees.
Although not every industry is conducive to working from home, coronavirus restrictions have kept many of us out of the office for months on end.
Popular online travel marketplace Airbnb said this phenomenon, which it calls being “untethered” from the workplace, means more people are taking advantage of remote work to log in from, well, anywhere.
Airbnb recently commissioned a survey across five countries, including Australia, and found that 41 per cent of Australians who work remotely would rather quit their job than return to the office full time.
Nearly a third were more likely to live somewhere else while working remotely, and an adventurous 34 per cent said they might not even need a permanent residence.
Airbnb founder and CEO Brian Chesky called it a “travel revolution”.
“For the first time ever, millions of people can now travel any time, anywhere, for any length, and even live anywhere – this is a travel revolution,” he said.
The platform has released a series of updates to its services to reflect this growing trend, including verified wi-fi connections and accessibility reviews.
Because there’s nothing more anxiety-inducing than planning to bring work with you on a trip, only to find the wi-fi is dead on arrival.
- Click here for the full list of 50+ changes to Airbnb
Users can also use the “I’m flexible” option on dates and locations for up to 12 months in the future, increased from six months.
Which means you could plan to try working from “anywhere” some time in the next year and it would be possible to book ahead.
We are also curious about the new ‘offbeat’ category, with a lot of weird accommodation options including a giant shoe in Nelson, New Zealand and an underground studio in Coober Pedy, South Australia.
Far-flung remote working trips will depend on border and travel restrictions, with Airbnb careful to add that its recent announcements “include forward-looking statements”.
But even with the return of travel, is this Airbnb version of the ‘no fixed address’ lifestyle realistic?
Research by Australia’s Productivity Commission in September found most people want to spend at least some time working from the office.
“There are actual or perceived costs to working from home, such as reduced opportunities for collaboration and networking, reduced face-to-face interaction with managers, and consequences for long-term career prospects,” it said.
Despite these costs, the report found workers “highly value” the option to work remotely and most were “willing to change jobs or accept lower wages in order to continue working from home”.
As reported by The New Daily in December, research from Monash University’s research unit BehaviourWorks Australia found that most people would prefer to work from home three days a week.
- Related: Working from home revolution
Research fellow Dr Denise Goodwin told TND at the time she feared businesses would just see it as a cost-cutting measure, but said “if we actually put processes and practices in place that support remote working … then yes, [COVID will lead to long-lasting change].”
Two days at the office and three in a giant shoe does not sound too shabby at all – as long as it has wi-fi.