One-hundred five words spell out Airbnb’s new remote work policy, but the spirit of the approach can be counted in less than fifteen, “We want the best talent and address doesn’t matter. Live your life.”

Airbnb isn’t the first company to make the move to remote or virtual working. Companies such as Lyft, Meta, and Dropbox made similar announcements, among many others. But, it is a big deal nonetheless because Airbnb is a nearly-household brand with global recognition and their plan seems to be hyper-flexible. Be anywhere.

This is Airbnb’s and many other companies’ response to the competition for talent—a real battle to satisfy the demands of an evolving workforce. And it is good. In many cases, remote-first work offers greater opportunities for cultural diversity and inclusion and creates a more resilient workforce. Flexibility is needed in the face of rapidly changing working conditions and satisfies the demands of prospects.

Address Matters

Where flexibility and adaptability may offer Airbnb an edge on hiring and employee satisfaction, legal and human resources challenges offer speed bumps.

Unfortunately, employment law is not one-size-fits-all across the United States. Addresses matter. 

As hiring professionals know very well, researching and complying with each state and territory’s unique requirements is complicated, costly, and time-consuming. 

Employers like Airbnb who are thinking about hiring someone from a new state must consider that some states have limitations on what criteria employers can use to evaluate job candidates and how employers can ask about the criteria. For example, New York precludes employers from inquiring about or taking adverse action against potential candidates for charges or arrests that did not result in a conviction. 

And it doesn’t get simpler after the new employee is hired. The steps to onboard a new employee have different requirements in each jurisdiction. It takes research and knowledge of state laws to register to do business in a new state, register for income and sales tax, and register for unemployment insurance. Ten states in the U.S. do not have state income tax, but do employers know which ten offhand? Employers must also obey disparate state laws when registering with the state Department of Labor, providing wage notices or signage, mandating sexual harassment training, and registering with FMLA. 

With a remote and dispersed workforce, employee handbooks and employment agreements may be more important than ever while also more difficult to create. Robust employment agreements often include non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, non-disclosure agreements, proprietary information and inventions assignments (PIIAs), and arbitration agreements. The laws governing these agreements are highly state-specific, so it’s important for employers to know how to comply with each law across the country.

Businesses are Turning to Automation

Businesses around the country are finding ways to navigate this complicated situation. Technology can be utilized to make legal compliance easier than ever before. These three companies have found that using legal software saves time, money, and energy that they can then spend growing their business.

Hatch, a quickly growing company that offers a full suite of smart sleep products, found that writing employee contracts for employees spanning fifteen states and two countries was becoming increasingly complicated, time-consuming, and expensive. After paying an employment attorney upwards of $500 an hour for employment contracts in new states, Hatch decided to utilize legal automation software to create their contracts, policies, and documents and keep them updated even as laws change. They now use this tech for every contract from interns to full-time team members.

Foresite Capital, a venture capital firm, relied on automation technology for weekly updates to COVID policies in the early days of the pandemic. The automation technology was essential in  generating documents related to everything from vaccines and sick leave, to COVID travel and telecommuting.

Reverb, a Seattle-based people operations firm, has many clients distributed across more than a dozen states. Before using automation software, Chief Operating Officer Sarah Wilkins would—for example—visit the City of San Francisco’s website and research the various leave laws. But tediously combing through various state and city laws was cumbersome. Wilkins said that through using automation, she could learn what was required on a state level easily, quickly, and readily, and provide her clients with a compliant employee handbook that comports with specific state laws. 

Technology Saves Time and Money

In today’s modern world with remote workforces and accessible technology, there’s a real opportunity to embrace Software As A Service (SaaS) technologies to help with complicated employment matters. Businesses no longer have to pay thousands in legal fees to comply with employment laws when automated technology can support many of these processes–and keep you updated.

SixFifty can help! Our 50 State Hiring Kit is a blueprint for businesses of all sizes, hiring employees across the United States. If you’d like to see the tool in action or speak to an expert, book a demo today!


Meili Bell

Written by Meili Bell

Meili Bell is the Content Manager at SixFifty. She spends her workdays writing, editing, project managing and reading about the intersection of law and technology. Meili comes to SixFifty from Gifted Music School, a nonprofit music school for the most dedicated young musicians in the region, where she was program director of the school’s flagship program for the last ten...

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