The Latest News, Headlines, and Business Stories for December 9


Marianne Ayala/Insider

It’s Saturday, buds! The holiday season feels like it’s in full swing. If you’re interested in different holiday festivities, try one of these 16 unique British traditions, like watching a pantomime, guessing the “Christmas No. 1,” or eating a mince pie.

In today’s big story, we’re looking at how companies aren’t adopting the simple solution for easing worker burnout.

What’s on deck: 

But first, can you hit a lil’ work flex for me?


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The big story

Workplace flex(ibility)

Uncovering new and promising remote-job opportunities starts with reflection.
Commercial Eye/Getty Images

Companies often discuss ideas like the four-day workweek or paid sabbaticals to keep employees happy. But they’re skirting a simple concept that’s more impactful: flexibility.

More than 80% of people want location flexibility, according to a Future Forum study from earlier this year. But what more workers — 93% of them — want is schedule flexibility. My colleague Tim Paradis and I chatted with experts about implementing workplace flexibility.

“It’s about giving people more control over their workweeks so that they can balance the things that are important at work and personally,” Ryan Anderson, the VP of Global Research and Insights at MillerKnoll, told me.

Flexibility can apply to many things: location, schedule, process, toolset, and other factors. However, employers seem more keen to adopt the latest workplace trends. In reality, those are bandages for a larger issue.

“The hardest part for leaders or managers to embrace is that it’s going to look different for everyone to some degree, because everyone’s definition of balance is going to look different,” Kristen Lipton, a managing director at Gallup, told me.

Lipton compared workplace trends to fad diets and gimmicks. At the end of the day, nothing can replace the results from a healthy foundation.

Julie Tran/Insider

Most companies can likely be more flexible than they realize, but it starts with the manager.

“It can begin with policies — and even better, principles — to help convey what is permissible or not within an organization,” Anderson told me, “and from there, it requires new ways of supporting these work practices.”

A famous Gallup study found the largest factor between an engaged team and a burnt-out one is the manager. If employees have one meaningful conversation with their leader or manager per week, it keeps them much more engaged.

“Through that one meaningful conversation, you could absolutely unpack these desires, these alignments to strengths: What does flexibility mean to you?” Lipton told me. Managers serve as the “translator” between company expectations and helping their direct-reports thrive.

Managers should also take advantage of flexible work policies. Their actions show everyone that flexibility is part of the workplace culture.

Lipton and Anderson both told me that conversations around flexibility took place  before the pandemic, but its onset accelerated things.

“The mechanism — the way that you deliver on these things — forever has changed,” Lipton told me. “It’s creating some sense of ownership and control and choices within the boundaries of the day.”

Read the full story.


3 things in travel

Stratolaunch’s Roc is shown carrying a Talon-A rocket.
Stratolaunch
  1. The world’s biggest plane just reached another milestone. The Stratolaunch Roc has wings longer than a football field that help it bring heavy payloads like planes and rockets into the air. The massive plane just flew with a fully-fueled hypersonic vehicle prototype for the first time.
  2. How to bid your way to business-class seats and save money doing it. The author details how she and her husband successfully bid for an upgrade. They saved $1,700 on the original cost of the upgrade and felt like they won the lottery.
  3. What it’s like attending Finland’s all-expense paid masterclass on happiness. The course flew foreigners to the country to teach them how to be happy like the Finns. One of the biggest takeaways was the importance of being grateful for what you have.

3 things in careers

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  1. The 10 companies that give the biggest raises, best promotions, and have the strongest cultures. Out of 396 of the US’s largest employers, companies like Coca-Cola and Bank of America made the top 10. Rankings were based on factors like hiring, pay, promotion, culture, and parity.
  2. The age of AI means finding new ways to impress your boss. Improving soft skills like collaboration and leadership to stay relevant will be key, and understanding why your work matters becomes even more important.
  3. Former Microsoft VP of HR shares what to do in the first 48 hours after being laid off. Chris Williams cautioned that you shouldn’t sign a layoff package as soon as they offer it to you. Instead, consider negotiating different aspects of the severance package.

3 things in life

“Swifties” are seen at the Denver Eras tour concert on July 14.
Grace Smith/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images
  1. Next year’s spending outlook: More concerts and more travel. Live events from artists like Taylor Swift and Beyonce brought in major money and reshaped the economy in 2023. Studies show spending on events is likely just getting started. People are putting in time and effort to attend concerts, including waiting for tickets and wearing the perfect outfit.
  2. The daily routines of three men who claim they’ve reversed their biological age. One is a tech entrepreneur, another is a doctor, and the third is a scientist. They each follow plant-based diets and exercise regularly, which are well-known longevity strategies.
  3. “My immigrant parents were scammed out of their entire life savings.” The local police department and an FBI agent showed up at their parents’ house. An account his dad had wired money to was suspected of fraud and scamming elderly people. They had lost everything.

In other news

In this April 29, 2015, photo, biologist Tom Anderson of the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Refuge Complex steers an airboat across the shallow waters of the Salton Sea near Niland, Calif.
AP

For your bookmarks

Costco premade meals

Ted Berg

A review and ranking of nine prepared Kirkland Signature meals. The nine Costco meal contenders include meatloaf, mac and cheese, gyros, yakisoba, and chicken alfredo.


The Insider Today Saturday team: Diamond Naga Siu, senior reporter, in San Diego. Dan DeFrancesco, senior editor, in New York City. Hallam Bullock, editor, in London. Lisa Ryan, executive editor, in New York City.



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