Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky recently announced that the company’s employees will be able to work from anywhere, including (for up to three months) overseas. He also abolished location -based pay, at least within the U.S. In the days following the announcement, Airbnb’s recruiting page received a million visitors. The company, which laid off a quarter of its staff during the pandemic, also released first quarter earnings that closely matched pre-pandemic levels.
Over the past two years, we’ve all become either digital nomads or (forced) remote workers. Some loved it, some hated it; but even among the office addicts, employees are demanding a more flexible return to the office.
The metaverse is one of those topics that people in all industries are talking about. It is a fusion of technologies that spawn an enduring virtual reality (VR) infrastructure that anyone will be able to access from anywhere on earth to interact, play, work, and shop. Even though it is only in its infancy, the metaverse is already impacting the coworking space industry by creating new hybrid physiverse/metaverse business models that allow coworking space providers to take advantage of this emerging trend. As it becomes what it is meant to be, the metaverse will offer even more opportunities for those businesses that are ready and that invested in the proper technology early on.
In 1964, the RAND Corporation predicted that we would be breeding intelligent apes to perform manual labor by 2020. In 1959, the US postmaster general predicted that today’s mail would be sent by rockets (email turned out to be a more cost-effective option). In 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that continued economic growth over the course of the coming century would reduce the workweek to 15 hours. Nikola Tesla echoed this sentiment in 1935, when he predicted that robots would replace most human labor in the next hundred years.
The now-common term “work from home” belies an important phenomenon in today’s economy: many people, when given the option to work remotely, are actually working from somewhere else. Before the pandemic, most people did not get to choose where to work. Now, the popular narrative is that many people are dividing their working hours between exactly two locations: an employer-provided workplace or the home office, whether that is a refined salon with specific thousand-page books or the humble living room couch.
More than two years into our national experiment in working from home, one of the most popular arguments for returning to the office is about collaboration: Employees need to be on site, we’re told, because collaborating with one another has been harder to do when everyone is working from separate locations.