Last night, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky took to Twitter to announce the company's new remote work policy, and it's a doozy.

"I think this will become the predominant way companies work 10 years from now," Chesky wrote.

At first glance, the new policy may look a lot like what we've seen from other companies that have approached a hybrid approach, allowing employees to choose between work from home or the office. But there are a few key points that may seem small, but can make a big difference in the way people collaborate.

Here are each of the key points, as summarized by Chesky:

1. You can work from home or the office--whatever works best for you.

2. You can move anywhere in the country, like from San Francisco to Nashville, and your compensation won't change.

3. You have the flexibility to live and work in 170 countries for up to 90 days a year in each location.

4. We'll meet up regularly for team gatherings. Most employees will connect in person every quarter for about a week at a time (some more frequently).

5. To pull this off, we'll operate off of a multi-year roadmap with two major product releases a year, which will keep us working in a highly coordinated way.

While it's only 105 words, there's a lot to glean from Airbnb's approach. Let's break down some of the key points, and see what other businesses embracing remote work can learn from it.

Work from anywhere--with a catch

The first point Chesky highlights is that employees will have the choice to work either from home or the office, whichever they prefer.

Chesky cites three main reasons.

"The world has become more flexible," Chesky writes. "Our business wouldn't have recovered as quickly from the pandemic if it hadn't been for millions of people working from Airbnbs."

In other words, it only makes sense that a company with a business model centered on travel and the ability to provide flexible work locations for its customers would allow its own employees to travel extensively and work from flexible locations, too.

Second, the data supported the decision. Like many other companies, the Covid-19 pandemic forced Airbnb employees to embrace a remote-first work solution. But that led to "the most productive two-year period in our company's history," according to Chesky.

And the third reason has to do with the war for talent. "Companies will be at a significant disadvantage if they limit their talent pool to a commuting radius around their offices," Chesky writes. "The best people live everywhere."

Of course, not every company can allow their employees to live and work from anywhere. But those that can should take a cue from Airbnb's supporting policy, namely, that "compensation won't change" depending on a person's address.

This not only gives employees the freedom to live wherever makes them happy (or even to move whenever they want), it essentially gives them the freedom to increase their salary, so to speak. After all, the purchase power of the dollar will go a lot further in Charlotte or Tulsa than it will in New York or San Francisco.

But you might have noticed, there's a catch: While imaginably many teams will be working apart from each other, most will be required to meet up quarterly for team gatherings (and some even more frequently), "for about a week at a time."

Why make this a requirement?

"The most meaningful connections happen in person," Chesky explains. "Zoom is great for maintaining relationships, but it's not the best way to deepen them. And some creative work is best done in the same room."

"The right solution should combine the efficiency of Zoom with the meaningful human connection that happens when people come together. Our design attempts to combine the best of both worlds."

As someone who has run a remote-first business since before the pandemic, I can vouch for the value in this approach.

My team and I love working remotely, as it affords us the flexibility to live in and travel to different parts of the world. It allows us to source talent globally, meaning we achieve a much higher level of diversity than would be possible otherwise--and those diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and personalities have a profound influence on the quality of our work.

At the same time, I know that there's simply no replacement for getting together in person. The energy, the spontaneous conversations, the personal dynamics--as Chesky says, these are all key to deepening relationships. Can this happen in a 100 percent remote environment? To an extent, yes. But I'd argue not to the same level--and it often is much harder and takes much longer.

So, what can companies take away from Airbnb's new policy?

First, not everyone will be able to do what Airbnb does, because of budget and other types of constraints. But if your company is challenged with putting together a remote work policy, take a lesson from Airbnb and try to incorporate these principles as best you can:

  • Be as flexible as possible
  • Don't reduce compensation based on location
  • Set up regular in-person team gatherings
  • Be transparent with both short- and long-term goals

Just about every company can make those four principles a priority. Get it right, and you'll not only attract the best employees, you'll put them--and your business--in position to succeed.