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Remote work ate your vacation. ‘The lines between work and life have become increasingly blurred’



Remote work ate your vacation. 'The lines between work and life have become increasingly blurred'

Last month, Stephanie Sanders was on a beach in the Outer Banks on a family girls’ trip with her mother, grandmother, and niece, but not even the cresting waves of the Atlantic Ocean could wash work from her mind.

She blocked out two hours on two mornings of the vacation to take a few client calls and comb through emails and Slack messages with her team.

“I caught a little flack for working on my vacation,” Sanders wrote in a post on LinkedIn. She told Fortune during a subsequent interview that her boss lightly chided her for not taking the full time off for herself. Sanders says those four hours working when she was supposed to be off made her feel less anxious about what she might be missing at work, and helped lessen the onslaught of post-vacation tasks and emails to catch up on.

“It made getting back into the groove much more manageable and less daunting,” Sanders says.

She’s  far from alone. A recent report from Qualtrics, a customer experience software company, finds that roughly half of American employees said they work about one hour a day when on vacation.

Truth be told, vacations just feel weird since COVID.

Most knowledge workers can work anywhere with a laptop and wi-fi connection, and that’s exactly what they’re doing. But when does work stop?

Since many of us stopped going to the office in March 2020, work has become an ever-present specter in our homes, and now even when we (try to) go on vacation.

The truly unplugged vacation is becoming a thing of the past.

Why it’s hard to disconnect

The fear of falling behind at work is one of the top reasons employees give for either working while on vacation, or not taking vacation at all, according to Qualtrics.

We’re in peak summer right now: The majority of Americans slate summer travels for July and August. Already sleepy offices are quieter than ever. But many Americans say their managers and colleagues expect them to check in while they’re away. More than 30% of respondents to the Qualtrics survey said they’re even expected to answer phone calls or texts while on vacation, 27% are expected to respond to emails, and 20% are expected to be online.

The lines of work and vacation are no longer clear. When you can and have been working from anywhere, where are you ever off the clock? What’s to stop a boss or colleague from pushing the boundaries, sending that “urgent” email while you’re on vacation.

Sanders runs North American sales for Denmark-based Contractbook, which affords her unlimited paid time off. Generally, she says, she has the freedom and flexibility to travel and work from anywhere. When we spoke, she was on her way to Maine, but not for vacation. She said she just wanted a change of scenery while taking meetings and doing her work, but in general she finds herself working more and taking time off less.

Even with unlimited vacation days, work is always lingering.”Maybe if I felt like it was one of those precious 20 or so days a year off I got [without unlimited vacation], I’d be less inclined to work while on vacation,” Sanders says.

There’s a pervasive narrative that employees abuse unlimited PTO, but it’s much more common for employees to take far less time off than they would if they had the typical two weeks paid vacation time, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

Working on vacation can be toxic. After all, it doesn’t allow proper time to rest and recharge. And employees who work while on vacation are more likely to quit, according to a survey by business analytics firm Visier. About 20% of respondents said they quit after returning from vacation, and nearly half thought about it.

“In an era of worker burnout and high turnover, 58% of U.S. workers say their job is the main source of their mental health challenges,” the Qualtrics report reads. “It can be difficult to completely disconnect, especially as the lines between work and life have become increasingly blurred due to remote and hybrid work arrangements.”

And, at least for me, soft work—the constantly thinking, worrying, or doing work in you head if not physically answering emails and conducting meetings—can be just as time consuming and tiring on vacation.

Sanders argues that for her, taking some time to work from vacation is just the way she works best. One individual commented on her LinkedIn post, saying they work about two hours per vacation day . Someone else said if they’re taking a long weekend, they’ll still check email and respond, but they take two full weeks off a year where they try to completely unplug, but that leaves them every time with a few days of catching up when they’re back.

Sanders says it’s also up to her and other managers to set an example and make sure employees know that whatever way they need to take time off is okay.

“You have to encourage people to do whatever they want. If they want to fully unplug, that’s okay,” Sanders says. “We’ve been used to working one way for so long, but it’s going to change… people just need to know the expectations.”You have to show people that just because you can work, doesn’t mean you need to.”

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Coinbase’s near-term outlook is ‘still grim’, JPMorgan says, while BofA is more positive about firm’s ability to face crypto winter



Coinbase's near-term outlook is 'still grim', JPMorgan says, while BofA is more positive about firm's ability to face crypto winter

Coinbase is well positioned to successfully navigate this crypto winter and take market share, Bank of America said in a research report Tuesday. It maintained its buy recommendation following the exchange’s second-quarter results.

The results warrant “a muted stock reaction,” the report said. Net revenue of $803 million was below the bank’s and consensus estimates, while its adjusted $151 million loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization was better than the street expected. Importantly, the company remains “cautiously optimistic” it can reach its goal of no more than $500 million of adjusted EBITDA loss for the full year, the report added.

Coinbase shares fell almost 8% in premarket trading to $80.74.

Bank of America notes that Coinbase had no counterparty exposure to the crypto insolvencies witnessed in the second quarter. The company also has a “history of no credit losses from financing activities, holds customer assets 1:1, and any lending activity of customer crypto is at the discretion of the customer, with 100%+ collateral required.” These rigorous risk-management practices will be a “positive long-term differentiator” for the stock, the bank said.

JPMorgan said Coinbase had endured another challenging quarter, while noting some positives.

Trading volume and revenue were down materially. Subscription revenue was also lower, but would have been much worse were it not for higher interest rates, it said in a research report Wednesday.

The company is taking steps on expense management, and in addition to the June headcount reductions, is scaling back marketing and pausing some product investments, the note said.

The bank says the company’s near-term outlook is “still grim,” noting that the exchange expects a continued decline in 3Q 2022 monthly transacting users (MTUs) and trading volumes, but says Coinbase could take more “cost actions” if crypto prices fall further.

JPMorgan is less optimistic than Bank of America about the company in the near term, saying pressure on revenue from falling crypto markets will have a negative impact on the stock price. Still, it sees positives including higher interest rates, from which the firm will generate revenue. It also sees opportunities for the exchange to grow its user base, leveraging almost $6 billion of cash. The surge in crypto prices in July, and the forthcoming Ethereum Merge are also seen as positive catalysts, it added.

The bank maintained its neutral rating on the stock and raised its price target to $64 from $61.

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Elon Musk sold $6.9B in Tesla stock in case he’s forced to buy Twitter



Elon Musk sold $6.9B in Tesla stock in case he's forced to buy Twitter

Elon Musk sold $6.9 billion of his shares in Tesla Inc., the billionaire’s biggest sale on record, saying he needed cash in case he is forced to go ahead with his aborted deal to buy Twitter Inc.

“In the (hopefully unlikely) event that Twitter forces this deal to close *and* some equity partners don’t come through, it is important to avoid an emergency sale of Tesla stock,” Musk tweeted late Tuesday after the sales were disclosed in a series of regulatory filings. 

Asked by followers if he was done selling and would buy Tesla stock again if the $44 billion deal doesn’t close, Musk responded: “Yes.”

Tesla’s chief executive officer offloaded about 7.92 million shares on Aug. 5, according to the new filings. The sale comes just four months after the world’s richest person said he had no further plans to sell Tesla shares after disposing of $8.5 billion of stock in the wake of his initial offer to buy Twitter.  

Musk last month said he was terminating the agreement to buy the social network where he has more than 102 million followers and take it private, claiming the company has made “misleading representations” over the number of spam bots on the service. Twitter has since sued to force Musk to consummate the deal, and a trial in the Delaware Chancery Court has been set for October. 

In May, Musk dropped plans to partially fund the purchase with a margin loan tied to his Tesla stake and increased the size of the equity component of the deal to $33.5 billion. He had previously announced that he secured $7.1 billion of equity commitments from investors including billionaire Larry Ellison, Sequoia Capital, and Binance. 

“I’ll put the odds at 75% that he’s buying Twitter. I’m shocked,” said Gene Munster, a former technology analyst who’s now a managing partner at venture-capital firm Loup Ventures. “This is going to be a headwind for Tesla in the near term. In the long term, all that matters is deliveries and gross margin.”

At the weekend, Musk tweeted that if Twitter provided its method of sampling accounts to determine the number of bots and how they are confirmed to be real, “the deal should proceed on original terms.” 

Musk, 51, has now sold around $32 billion worth of stock in Tesla over the past 10 months. The disposals started in November after Musk, a prolific Twitter user, polled users of the platform on whether he should trim his stake. The purpose of the latest sales wasn’t immediately clear.  

Tesla shares have risen about 35% from recent lows reached in May, though are still down about 20% this year. 

With a $250.2 billion fortune, Musk is the world’s richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, but his wealth has fallen around $20 billion this year as Tesla shares declined.    

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The rent is too d*mn high for Gen Z: Younger generations are ‘squeezed the most’ by higher rents, BofA says



The rent is too d*mn high for Gen Z: Younger generations are 'squeezed the most' by higher rents, BofA says

Most of Gen Z is too young to remember the 2010 New York gubernatorial candidate Jimmy McMillan.

But over a decade later, they would probably agree with his signature issue (and catchphrase): the rent is too damn high.

This July, median rent payments were 7.4% higher than during the same period last year, according to a Bank of America report released Tuesday. 

The national median price for a one-bedroom apartment has been hitting new highs nearly every month this summer. It was $1,450 for July, according to rental platform Zumper. In the country’s largest city, New York, average rent exceeded a shocking $5,000 a month for the first time ever in June. 

But inflation in the rental market hasn’t hit each generation equally, and no one is getting squeezed harder by the higher monthly payments as Gen Z. Those born after 1996 have seen their median rent payment go up 16% since last July, compared to just a 3% increase for Baby Boomers, BofA internal data shows. 
“Younger consumers are getting squeezed the most by higher rent inflation,” BofA wrote.

The great rent comeback

Early in the pandemic, landlords slashed rents and gave significant COVID discounts to entice tenants to stay instead of leaving urban areas. Once those deals started expiring in 2021, many landlords suddenly raised payments once again, sometimes asking for over double their pandemic value. 

Young people across the board have been hit hard, and rent burdens compared to age can be seen even within a single generation. Younger millennials had their median rent payment grow 11% from last year, while the median payment for older millennials rose 7%. Gen X experienced a 5% median rent increase, according to BofA. 

It’s not a surprise, then, that Gen Z feels so strapped for cash. The majority of young people, 61%, said they want to receive their wages daily instead of twice a week, a practice typically reserved for workers living paycheck to paycheck, according to a report from the Center for Generational Kinetics, which specializes in research across the generations. Rising rent inflation has even priced nearly a third of Gen Zers out of the apartment search altogether. Around 29% of them have resorted to living at home as a “long-term housing solution,” according to a June survey from personal finance company Credit Karma.

It’s no wonder—the rent really is too high.

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