A 3D-printed concrete tiny home is now on Airbnb – see what it’s like to stay inside the $130 per-night stay

the exterior of the Fibonacci House among trees and grass
The Fibonacci House.

  • Take a tour of the Fibonacci House, a 3D-printed concrete tiny home that’s now available on Airbnb.
  • The home was designed, created, and sold by a Dutch company, Twente Additive Manufacturing.
  • The Fibonacci House is Canada’s first 3D-printed home and Airbnb’s first 3D printed concrete tiny home.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Vacationers have been flocking to Airbnb’s “unique stays,” and searches for these unconventional rentals have jumped 94% in 2021 compared to the same time in 2019, according to Airbnb.

the exterior side view of the Fibonacci House
The Fibonacci House.

Source: Airbnb

Now, a new one-of-a-kind unique stay is available for summertime vacationers to rent: the Fibonacci House …

the exterior of the Fibonacci House among trees and grass
The Fibonacci House.

… Canada’s first 3D-printed home and Airbnb’s first 3D-printed concrete tiny home, according to a press release from Twente Additive Manufacturing (TAM).

a wall of the Fibonacci House under construction
The Fibonacci House.

Twente Additive Manufacturing is a Dutch construction technology group that specializes in, of course, 3D-printed concrete homes.

The Fibonacci House under on-site construction
The Fibonacci House.

Like other 3D-printed concrete homes, the sound and weatherproof Fibonacci House has distinctly curved walls.

the Fibonacci House under construction with only its walls up
The Fibonacci House.

Source: Insider

If the home’s name sounds familiar, that’s because its design and name pay homage to the Fibonacci Sequence – or the golden ratio – hence its curved appearance.

the exterior of the Fibonacci House with a view of its surroundings
The Fibonacci House.

The home was designed to use “the least number of straight lines in the design as possible,” according to the press release.

the Fibonacci House under construction with no roof yet
The Fibonacci House.

The Fibonacci House was printed over 11 days in 20 parts using a 3D concrete printer.

the Fibonacci House being printed
The Fibonacci House.

These components were first printed off-site before being assembled at its current woodsy Canadian location, Lynne Myers reported for Designboom.

the Fibonacci House being printed
The Fibonacci House.

Source: Designboom

The Airbnb now sits in the Kootenay Lake Village at the waterfront Procter Point community.

the Fibonacci House in a wooded area
The Fibonacci House.

Besides 3D printing, the spiral concrete home also capitalizes on another big real estate trend: tiny homes.

the interior of the Fibonacci House
The Fibonacci House.

In this case, tiny means 376.7 square feet.

the exterior of the Fibonacci House
The Fibonacci House.

This space – which follows a curved, spiraling floor plan – fits a living room, kitchen, bathroom, patio, and sleeping loft.

the interior of the Fibonacci House
The Fibonacci House.

The bathroom is located in the middle of the curved floor plan, and its shower tops off the center of the spiral.

the Fibonacci House's shower
The Fibonacci House.

The room also has a toilet, sink, and enough storage to accommodate items like towels, according to images on the Airbnb listing.

the Fibonacci House's bathroom
The Fibonacci House.

Source: Airbnb

Now, moving on to the bedroom. The sleeping loft can be accessed using the ladder, according to the Airbnb listing.

the Fibonacci House's kitchen and ladder
The Fibonacci House.

Source: Airbnb

If you’ve never slept in a loft before, don’t be too concerned about the height.

the Fibonacci House under construction with no roof yet
The Fibonacci House.

The side of the bed closest to the ledge is guarded by a mesh net.

the interior of the Fibonacci House
The Fibonacci House.

In total, this area can sleep two adults and two children.

the exterior of the Fibonacci House with a view of its surroundings
The Fibonacci House.

Moving along, the window-lined kitchen and living room are at the base of the ladder.

the interior of the Fibonacci House
The Fibonacci House.

Taking a closer look, the kitchen has amenities like a dual induction cooktop, a coffee maker, and cabinets.

the Fibonacci House's kitchen
The Fibonacci House.

Now, let’s head outside to the last part of this tour, the covered patio.

the exterior of the Fibonacci House among trees and grass
The Fibonacci House.

Don’t want to cook in the kitchen? You’re in luck. The outdoor space has a barbecue and view of a park and the nearby Kootenay Lake.

the interior of the Fibonacci House
The Fibonacci House.

Almost all of the home’s elements that aren’t based in concrete are made up of sustainably sourced wood from a nearby community forest.

the bathroom of the Fibonacci House
The Fibonacci House.

The revenue from the Airbnb listing will be donated to World Housing, a home building charity that’s currently looking to construct a community of affordable 3D printed homes for single mothers in Canada.

The exterior of the Fibonacci House with a tree
The Fibonacci House.

The community – currently called “Sakura Place” – will have five three-bedroom homes that will form the appearance of a flower.

the exterior of the Fibonacci House among trees and grass
The Fibonacci House.

Like other companies that specialize in a 3D printing construction method, World Housing believes 3D concrete printing can address two aspects of the housing crisis: the labor and housing shortage.

a close up of the Fibonacci Houses windows
The Fibonacci House.

Similarly, TAM believes that home construction needs to pivot to decreasing building material use and energy consumption while “rewiring … how people think about the process of designing buildings,” according to the press release.

the Fibonacci House under construction with only its walls up
The Fibonacci House.

“In addition to affordable homes, the market increasingly demands innovative housing concepts,” Yasin Torunoglu, the housing and spatial development alderman at the municipality of Eindhoven, said in a press release regarding another 3D printed concrete home, this time in the Netherlands.

the Fibonacci House under construction with a crane lifting part of the home
The Fibonacci House.

Source: Insider

“With the 3D printed home, we’re now setting the tone for the future: the rapid realization of affordable homes with control over the shape of your own house,” Torunoglu continued.

the Fibonacci House under construction
The Fibonacci House.

A night’s stay at the Fibonacci House ranges from around $127 to $132 per night – not including the cleaning or service fee – depending on the days booked.

the exterior of the Fibonacci House among trees and grass
The Fibonacci House.

Source: Airbnb

But if you’re currently planning a last-minute trip, don’t go running to the Fibonacci House listing.

the exterior of the Fibonacci House among trees and grass
The Fibonacci House.

The Fibonacci House is already fully booked for the reminder of July and almost half of August.

the exterior of the Fibonacci House among trees and grass
The Fibonacci House.

Source: Airbnb

Read the original article on Business Insider

The CEO of Okta asked his 3,500 employees to email him about where they’re going on vacation, to remind them about the importance of taking breaks

Okta Todd McKinnon
Okta CEO Todd McKinnon.

  • Okta CEO Todd McKinnon wants his 3,500 employees to tell him their vacation plans.
  • He told CNBC he shared his own vacation plans with staff to remind them the importance of taking breaks.
  • He said that about 950 people had emailed him, and “they’re still trickling in.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The CEO of cloud-software company Okta has asked employees to email him about where they’re going on vacation amid growing concerns of tech worker burnout.

Todd McKinnon told staff in a recent all-hands meeting about his upcoming family vacation in Napa, and encouraged the company’s 3,500 employees to email him plans for their own vacations in as much detail as they wanted, he told CNBC.

He said that he shared his plans to remind staff about the importance of taking breaks and a good work-life balance.

“I got a lot of emails,” McKinnon told CNBC. He said that around 950 members of staff had sent him their vacation plans so far, and “they’re still trickling in.”

This included one employee going to Maui, Hawaii who was looking forward to visiting the Mai Tai bar and another who wanted to travel around Europe, he said.

Read more: The CEO of $30 billion Okta says his company’s new cybersecurity alliances address the world shifting from remote work to ‘make it all work’

But not all their plans involved big trips overseas.

“It’s a lot of, ‘I’m going to see family, I haven’t seen my parents in a year,'” McKinnon said.

McKinnon still spends most of his time working remotely

As the vaccine rollout progresses, some tech companies such as Apple and Google are pushing staff to return to the office at least part-time, but Okta is taking a different stance.

In August, the company said that most employees would be able to work remotely forever. It’s been piloting a flexible work model known as “dynamic work” since 2019, which gives staff more choice about when and where they work.

Nearly all of its new job openings are now eligible for remote work, and 60% of its new hires are not located near an Okta office, Samantha Fisher, the company’s head of dynamic work, previously told Insider.

She said that the company expected around 85% of its workforce to be remote once its transition to “dynamic work” is complete, compared to 30% pre-pandemic.

But staff can still return to the office if they want. Okta has reopened its San Francisco office for vaccinated employees, but remodeled it for hot-desking and collaborative work.

McKinnon told CNBC that staff are happy to be back.

“What surprises people continuously, even me, is that they’ve forgotten the positive feeling of being around people,” he said.

McKinnon said he occasionally works from the office, but spends most of time elsewhere so that staff don’t feel pressured to return.

“I don’t want to imply that, well the CEO is back so you better go back,” he said. “Once people settle into this new groove, I’ll go back a lot. My personal preference is to go back.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Beach towns along the East Coast are struggling to hire enough employees heading into the July Fourth weekend

Outer Banks
Corolla Beach in the Outer Banks.

Lauren Belvin and her husband run Belvin Built, a design and construction firm based in Point Harbor, NC, a small coastal town across the bridge from the Outer Banks.

The company does everything from flood restoration after hurricanes to designing brand-new homes. Belvin pays her workers anywhere from $500 to $1,000 a day, depending on the project. But this summer, the only consistent employees they could find were two teenagers they discovered power washing their neighbor’s house.

The company’s challenge is one facing many small businesses in beach towns. From the Outer Banks to the Hamptons, a combination of factors has left ‘Help Wanted’ signs on storefront doors up and down the coast.

Insider’s Ayelet Sheffey reported that the national labor shortage could be due to a mix of four factors: unemployment benefits, COVID-19 health concerns, caring responsibilities, and low wages.

Many seasonal international workers that summer towns depend on were unable to travel to the US due to J-1 visa restrictions. Vacation destinations then face a sixth challenge: the affordable-housing crisis. All these factors are colliding during the busiest travel weekend of the year, as tourists flock to the beach to celebrate Independence Day.

“Before the pandemic it was bad,” said Tom Ruhle, director of the East Hampton Office of Housing and Community Development. “Now it’s dismal.”

Ruhle told Insider that while the Hamptons housing market has been booming, the little affordable housing that was available before the pandemic is almost entirely gone.

The New York Times reported that data collected by Douglas Elliman, a real-estate company, showed that the number of available houses in the Hamptons fell at the fastest rate in over a decade while sales and prices skyrocketed.

“It’s pushing everyone to live further and further away,” Belvin told Insider. “And then rising gas prices coupled with unemployment makes finding skilled labor right now almost impossible.”

Some year-round residents in the Outer Banks have been forced to move out of the rentals as landlords capitalize on the real-estate market.

“I had a friend who lived in Kill Devil Hills for 20 years. Her landlord gave her 30 days to move out in April because he was putting the house on the market,” Belvin told Insider. “Now she’s living in our warehouse apartment.”

Many beach-town restaurants don’t have the staff to remain open at normal hours, and often have to remain closed one to two days a week. With a tourist season only lasting three months out of the year, closing puts a dent in the revenue seasonal businesses depend on to survive through the winter.

Sandbars Raw Bar and Grill, a restaurant in Kill Devil Hills, NC, closed on Friday. Owners Mark and Michelle Shafer posted an emotional video on the company’s Facebook page, citing the labor shortage as the main reason behind the closing.

“There’s not a lot of people looking for jobs out there and it’s become extremely hard,” Mark Shafer said in the video.

Citarella, a popular gourmet market, is offering a $2,500 hiring bonus at its Bridgehampton location with continued employment.

Blue Moon Beach Grill, a restaurant in Nags Head, NC.
A sign at Blue Moon Beach Grill, a restaurant in Nags Head, NC. (Photo courtesy of Lauren Belvin)

Lynn Jones-Hoates, the owner of Healthy Environments Child Development Center in Kill Devil Hills, told Insider she has a waitlist of families wanting to enroll their kids in childcare so they could go to work- but she doesn’t have enough staff to fully reopen.

“The question becomes what it’s going to look like year-round out here,” Ruhle said. “Depending on the work-from-home scenario, if we get more of a year-round economy, we’re going to have more of a demand for year-round workers, and that’s going to exacerbate certain problems we have. Nobody knows what’s going to happen.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Best Buy is branching out to sell grills and luggage as retailers look to capitalize on our pent-up desire to get outside and travel

Cleaning a charcoal grill with a grill brush
  • Best Buy is expanding beyond its usual tech products to attract Americans heading outside again.
  • The company is now selling items like grills, outdoor heaters, laptop bags and luggage.
  • Best Buy’s sales surged last year as customers bought gear for remote work and home entertainment.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In a departure from its usual tech offerings, Best Buy is now selling products like grills and luggage in order to appeal to Americans heading outside again as the economy reopens.

The tech retailer is adding outdoor living products and travel gear to its lineup ahead of the summer, when many Americans will head outside, whether it’s just to their backyards or on vacation.

“During the pandemic, many of us turned our focus to our homes, whether that meant moving, renovating or simply redecorating – and that trend isn’t slowing down,” said a press release issued by the company on Tuesday.

Best Buy’s new product offerings will be available online and in select stores. Its website now features items like grills, outdoor heaters and backyard décor from brands like Weber, Trager and Ooni. The company says it plans to offer an expanded variety of fire tables, outdoor furniture and more in the near future. To encourage buyers, Best Buy is also offering free delivery and assembly for some grills when customers spend $100 or more on grilling accessories.

The company also is selling new business gear ahead of many Americans’ likely return to the office later this year. This includes nearly 75 TUMI products, such as backpacks, laptop bags and luggage.

Best Buy’s attempt to attract outdoors-bound customers comes after a year in which the company successfully wooed those stuck indoors. The company’s sales surged in 2020 as Americans outfitted home offices for remote work and bought entertainment gear to keep themselves occupied as they stayed home during the pandemic.

The new additions represent Best Buy’s latest effort to branch out into new territory. The company previously added home exercise equipment to its inventory, and earlier this year the retailer began a pilot for a new membership program, Best Buy Beta, that takes aim at Amazon Prime.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I’m a freelancer and mother who banished burnout by scheduling my own summer Fridays just for me – here’s how I make the time

Alice Dubin
Alesandra Dubin.

  • Alesandra Dubin is a freelancer who ends work at noon every Friday from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
  • She frees the afternoons by setting earlier deadlines for herself and putting the effort in upfront.
  • This time to herself makes her a better professional and mother during the rest of the year.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

I’m a proud mom to six-year-old twins and also a proud professional with a demanding, deadline-driven solo practice.

Most days – even when I’m not emerging tentatively from a pandemic like a thawing caveperson – it all just feels like a lot.

Indeed, like most working moms, I characterize myself as generally overcommitted and exhausted. But I have a strategy aimed at banishing burnout: I make my own summer Fridays.

For most of my career, I’ve wrapped up work around noon every Friday between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Up until a couple of years ago, this practice was conveniently built into my work life as an employee of various New York City-based media organizations, among which this type of structure is a common employer-sanctioned practice and a well-loved tradition among staff.

When I shifted to the full-time freelance lifestyle in 2019, it was entirely up to me to defend this sacred time from work and errand creep. But by now I’ve learned that doing so is a game-changer for my lifestyle and sense of self, so I create my boundaries.

In order to make it happen, I think of the summer as a whole, rather than looking at each week or day individually.

I get analytical about how much work and what type of work I want to take on in order to keep my summer Friday afternoons free.

Sure, work has a way of bottlenecking sometimes, and some deadlines don’t go as planned. But putting in the effort upfront – setting the intention, as I do – helps lay the groundwork that supports the structure I want.

I’m also an obsessive time manager, so I give myself – and stick to – artificial deadlines early enough that I avoid the potential for a Friday bottleneck.

In most cases, I assign myself deadlines only Monday through Thursday for the work requiring the most brainpower and time commitment – even if that means I’m delivering well ahead of a client’s drop-dead needs.

This, of course, is a good thing: It doesn’t just reduce my own stress on Fridays, but it also has the benefit of making me a favorite freelancer among my clients, and that general approach yields me more income over the course of the whole year (even if it occasionally might mean a bit less during a given week here or there in the summer).

If I’m in town, here’s what I might do on a summer Friday: Take myself to a solo matinee, get a massage, or go for a hike alone with my podcasts.

A post shared by Alesandra (Alice) Dubin (@alicedubin)

Here’s what I don’t do: Return stuff to Target, get a dental cleaning, or accidentally schedule a work meeting.

These few hours when my kids are in school and my husband is at work are reserved for joyful, indulgent, or contemplative activities – not to check stuff off a list. These 12 Friday afternoons provide my only time dedicated for this purpose in a typical year, and I believe they comprise a key pillar of my mental-health strategy.

Summer Fridays take the edge off the rest of the week. And they mean my kids get the best of me – not the smoke-breathing version of me who might be limping out of a week of meetings without having yet had a chance to regroup.

And summer Fridays are a mental-health boon throughout not just these weeks, but the whole year, too: It’s a cherished rhythm I look forward to and that makes me more productive, like a vacation already booked.

“By taking time exclusively for yourself and exclusively for the purpose of bringing pleasure, joy, and comfort into your life, [that’s] actually an act of radical self-compassion,” Leah Rockwell, a licensed professional counselor and founder of Rockwell Wellness, which specializes in therapy for burnout, told Insider.

The notion of radical self-compassion comes from a concept founded by Kristin Neff nearly 20 years ago.

“Yet for many overworked, overachieving women, it is an amazingly difficult concept to actually integrate into our daily lives,” Rockwell said. “While we might be the first person to rabidly advocate that a girlfriend should do whatever it takes to care for or prioritize herself, many of us cannot extend that same permission to ourselves.”

Rockwell said that by building that permission into my actual schedule, I’m showing myself (and others around me, too) that my emotional wellness is a priority for me. “Why not capitalize on how summer can fortify us?” she added.

Engaging in a relationship with what brings us joy is something that we witness our children do all day long, but we often deny it of ourselves as adults. “By structuring your summer weeks as you are, you’ve invited back into your life the bliss of summer that we often assume that adults just don’t have a right to, yet we inherently long for,” Rockwell said.

Podcast host and bestselling author Gretchen Rubin calls it “designing your summer.”

“You want there to be something special about summer,” she said. “If you don’t actually plan that out or at least be very intentional about it, it’s very easy for days to just slip by.”

Anyone can design their summer – not just people who make their own work hours or have lots of disposable income.

“It’s not about taking massive amounts of time off work,” Rubin said. Rather, it’s an attitude.

Habits and routines have the effect of speeding up time, whereas “time feels rich and slow when things are different,” Rubin said. (That’s why a three-day vacation can feel like a full chapter in our lives.) So to make our lives feel richer and more textured, we must make an effort to do something apart from our seasonally nonspecific routines.

And I need that distinction perhaps now more than ever given how the pandemic presented a seemingly endless stretch of days marked by the unrelenting sameness of staying at home.

As the world opens up again, I’m setting aside both time and headspace for novelty, for variety, for pleasurable personal challenges that stand to make time feel ever so slightly less ephemeral and much more vivid (all while actually fortifying my earning potential all year long).

Join me?

Read the original article on Business Insider

I left New York for a 4-night trip to Savannah, Georgia – here’s what it was like dining indoors, going on booze tours, and singing karaoke without wearing masks

Katie Nave Outdoor mask off dining _Tybee Island
Author Katie Nave and her partner at Tybee Island in Georgia.

  • Katie Nave is a freelance writer based in New York.
  • In early May after getting vaccinated, she and her partner went on a 4-day trip to Savannah, Georgia.
  • Although it was at first unnerving to go maskless, Nave says the trip felt exhilarating and peaceful.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

I went on my first date with my now-boyfriend in March 2020. Two weeks later, COVID-19 took over, our home of New York became the epicenter, and we restricted our dates to Friday night dinners at home. Thanks to our recent vaccinations, we’re slowly taking our relationship out into the “real world.”

One month ago, in celebration of our collective birthdays and Moderna jabs, we took a trip to Savannah, Georgia for four nights. We packed our masks, hand sanitizer, vaccine cards, and a healthy mix of anxiety and excitement for the trip. Here’s what it was like to travel after living in lockdown.

I initially felt conflicted about traveling out of state.

We’ve both taken the virus seriously by wearing masks, keeping our pod small, and respecting the quarantine rules.

As star students of Dr. Fauci, our decision to take a flight was thought over carefully. Even with antibodies, the idea of cramming onto a plane with strangers felt wild. Sure, everyone would be mandated to wear a mask, but they’d also be sipping, snacking, and readjusting throughout the flight.

Ultimately, we decided the risk was low as long as we took the proper precautions. We knew we wanted to keep the flight short, so Savannah became our choice location, with only two hours from takeoff to touchdown.

Since this was our first trip in a long time, we decided to stay at the TWA Hotel the night before our flight.

Katie Nave
Vintage decor inside the TWA Hotel.

The hotel is a fun 1960s throwback with a sunken lounge and a heated rooftop pool. Our room was located near a runway so we were able to watch the planes come and go silently – the glass is very thick – before our trip.

The view of a runway from the TWA hotel room. Katie Nave
The view of a runway from the TWA hotel room.

The next morning, we left our room and took a quick AirTrain right to our terminal.

It was overwhelming to go to the airport and get on a plane again after so long.

As soon as we walked into JFK Airport, I was paralyzed by the bright lights, crowds of people, and logistics of getting to our flight. As a person who’s often anxious, it was a true test of my coping skills.

I felt especially nervous as we stepped into a terminal elevator only to have a cluster of people follow us in. Normally, when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I take deep, calming breaths, but in this case, it felt unfortunately necessary to hold my breath.

After an ID mishap (TSA PSA: Do not travel with a chipped license), we booked it to our gate and eventually landed in our seats at the back of the small plane, right outside of the bathroom. I remember thinking it was wild to sit so close to a stranger that I could see even the faintest freckles on their arms. Thankfully, I locked into an exceptional book and was able to feel a rush of excitement as the wheels lifted off of the runway.

We got to Savannah in two hours and hopped into an Uber to our Airbnb.

Katie Nave
The author’s Airbnb apartment in downtown Savannah.

While researching for the trip, we’d been intrigued by photos of the oak trees covered in Spanish moss and cobblestone streets in the Savannah Historic District, so we booked an Airbnb apartment there for the first two nights of our trip.

It was perfectly located outside of Oglethorpe Square, where we got coffee each morning and sat and watched squirrels tussle under the sun. Our culinary tour of the town took us to a casual patio overlooking the river, outdoor snacks on the go, and a romantic evening cozying up at a bar and ordering intricate cocktails.

While it wasn’t as jarring as I’d imagined, there was an obviously more lax approach to masks while dining out than we were used to in New York.

Dining in the Riverstreet District in Savannah. Katie Nave
Dining in the Riverstreet District in Savannah.

When I put my face covering on to go to the restroom at one restaurant, a server looked at me curiously and said, “Oh sweetheart, you don’t have to do that.”

Embracing the haunted history of Savannah, we took a boozy walking ghost tour with fellow out-of-towners who also had an affinity for the open container policy. Visiting the Colonial Park Cemetery and The Marshall House, a former hospital during the Civil War, hit extra hard as our guide described the horrors of two yellow fever epidemics.

Exploring downtown Savannah while maskless, with the warm breeze on our faces, felt exhilarating.

Katie Nave Oglethorpe Square _ Downtown Savannah
Trees at Oglethorpe Square in downtown Savannah.

Since the streets weren’t crowded, we embraced the CDC’s recent announcement that vaccinated individuals can safely spend time outdoors without masks.

Still, I found myself wearing my mask under my chin or wrapped around my wrist at all times, perhaps as some sort of declaration that, yes, I do believe in science and will cover-up at a moment’s notice. I doubt anyone was judging me, but I was ready in case they did.

While shopping Broughton Street and touring the SCAD Museum of Art, we happily followed the “masks on indoors” policies. Much to my relief, it seemed everyone around us peacefully adhered to the rules as well and I felt safe throughout our visit.

For the final two nights, we visited an eclectic nearby beach town.

The Tybee Island Lighthouse (1) Katie Nave
The Tybee Island Lighthouse.

Halfway through the trip, we decided to mix things up by renting a beach cottage on Tybee Island. Thanks to our cherry red rental golf cart, we were able to zip around and explore all the top spots.

The locals and tourists alike were extremely friendly on the island and it quickly hit me how much I’d missed conversing with strangers. Still, I never quite figured out if it was appropriate to casually ask someone if they’d been vaccinated.

Tybee Island Golf Cart Katie Nave
Riding a red rental golf cart around Tybee Island.

While most of our time in Tybee was spent outdoors enjoying the beaches, perfect weather, and our cottage BBQ, we lived it up the final night by going out to a local bar and singing karaoke. Masks were on while indoors around others, but came off momentarily while performing onstage.

After packing up the next morning and arriving at the airport for our return flight to New York, I swiped through photos in my phone, reliving all of the best moments of the trip.

Overall, it felt incredible to be able to travel again.

I’m very aware of the privilege that we hold to be able to safely travel. The global vaccine scarcity is devastating with the reports that 85% of shots received worldwide have been administered in high- and upper-middle-income countries. Less than 1% of doses have been administered in low-income countries. The pandemic is clearly not over.

Given these facts, it initially felt selfish to travel during a global pandemic, but I’ve come to see that it was a good choice for me and my partner. We stayed safe throughout, and it was quite amazing how quickly we recalibrated to “normal” life. The mental health benefits of this trip were much greater than any vacation I’ve ever taken, as it gave me great hope that, at some point, we’ll fully return to the ease of normal life. It was healing to have this experience with the person that I love and, thanks to science, I’d do it all again.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Top law firms are offering $164K bonuses, extra vacation, and meeting-free days in an effort to retain workers and prevent burnout

legal 1
Law firms have offered lawyers new perks to retain them.

  • Law firms could offer up to $164,000 in bonuses to senior associates, Bloomberg reported.
  • Some firms have offered meeting-free days, extra vacation, and more flexibility to lawyers.
  • Firms have struggled to hire enough new talent in a tight labor market and amid a surge in demand.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Law firms have offered $164,000 bonuses, extra vacation, and more flexibility to their lawyers in an effort to retain top talent and prevent burnout, Bloomberg reported.

Some senior associates could receive bonuses as much as $164,000 by the end of 2021 on top of their base salary, up from $140,000 in 2020, according to data from Biglaw Investor.

The industry has experienced a boom in demand this year. Some lawyers have put in 100-hour work weeks amid a surge in company restructures and SPAC deals. Many firms have offered associates retention bonuses split across the year to incentivize them to stay, according to Bloomberg.

But firms have also offered a number of non-financial perks, including meeting-free days and greater flexibility to work from home, Bloomberg said.

Global law firm DLA Piper has given its lawyers a “one-week thank you,” which they can take either as vacation or as an extra week’s pay.

“The extra week’s pay or holiday is just one small way of us saying thank you to them for everything they have achieved in such a challenging year,” Simon Levine, global co-CEO, said in an emailed statement to Insider.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP has also introduced “Unplug Time,” allowing its employees to take an extra 40 hours of vacation per year.

“We know recovery is essential to sustaining top performance. So we decided to make sure it was really possible to take at least one fully unplugged vacation a year,” Orrick told Insider in an emailed statement.

Many firms have struggled to hire enough junior staff to meet demand. Kirkland & Ellis has offered junior lawyers sign-on bonuses up to $250,000, Insider previously reported.

DLA Piper and Kirkland did not immediately respond to comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I took an entire weekend to myself away from my husband and kids – here’s why every working mom should do the same

Melissa Petro with her youngest child.
Melissa Petro with her youngest child.

  • Melissa Petro is a freelance writer based in New York with her husband and two young children.
  • In early May, she took a weekend to herself for a “strategic absence” vacation, or “momcation.”
  • Petro says the time off allowed her to feel connected to herself as well as appreciative of her family.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A lot of moms spend their “day off” just like any other: cleaning up messes and watching the kids. In year’s past, I’ve been that worn-out momma.

For example, there have been many Mother’s Days when after opening my gift and shoveling down breakfast in bed, life would go back to normal, with a deluge of diapers to change and dishes in the sink.

But not this year.

This past Mother’s Day, I skipped the subtle hints and gave myself the one gift I wanted more than anything else: an entire weekend by myself.

No shouting toddlers. No waking up in the middle of the night. No endless list of chores. Just utter quiet and complete solitude. Hour after hour to do whatever I desired.

Fellow working moms, can you even imagine?

Even though Mother’s Day has passed, it’s not too late to coordinate your own escape. While many moms find it difficult to justify leaving their families, taking time and space for ourselves is not only good for us – it’s good for our loved ones, too.

A ‘strategic absence’ is more than a vacation

Citing the work of researcher and motherhood experts Petra Bueskens, Amy Westervelt, author of “Forget Having It All: How America Messed Up Motherhood and How to Fix it,” calls it a “strategic absence,” which she defines as an intentional period of time when mom is not around.

Maybe you’re at a conference for work or maybe it’s a girls’ trip. Or maybe it’s a trip orchestrated solely for the purpose of being away. The point is that you’re not physically there to make dinner or help out with bedtime. You’re mentally unavailable to figure out why the baby is crying or carry the load of remembering to reorder wipes.

Not only does a strategic absence give the primary caretaker a much-needed break, but according to Bueskens, it can generate a “structural and psychological shift in the family” by redistributing some of the work that falls onto one parent by default (typically mom) and requiring the second parent (usually the father) to step up.

Now more than ever, families need to shake up their dynamic

Melissa Petro
The author with her kids.

I first wrote about strategic absence back in January 2020 in an article for Elemental, where I bemoaned the fact that the most time I’d taken away from my then-two-year-old were the 24 hours I spent in the hospital giving birth to baby number two.

I was long overdue for what some call a momcation – and was in the works of planning one – when the pandemic hit, adding another 14 months onto the two years I’d already essentially been sheltering in place.

A 2018 survey found the average mother ends up with a mere 30 minutes to herself a day. During the pandemic, you can bet alone time was at an even greater premium – at least it was in my household.

Now that people are vaccinated and travel is a bit safer, I could finally have the time off from mothering that I richly deserved.

The thought of just being in a space by myself for an extended period of time sounded magical: Imagine no one is touching you, shouting in your face, demanding snacks, and crying when you give them exactly what they asked for.

Give yourself a (modest) goal

Beyond leisurely bubble baths and uninterrupted sleep, experts say a strategic absence is time away to pursue other dimensions of yourself.

If you’re a type-A working mom like me – you love your job and don’t get enough uninterrupted time in your everyday life to focus on it – there’s nothing wrong with using your strategic absence to tackle a work project.

My goal for this past Mother’s Day weekend was to make a significant start into a new idea for a book proposal that’d been rattling around my head for months – exactly the kind of thing that requires significant “maker” time.

You want a plan – but don’t feel pressured

No one wants to come back from a vacation feeling like they need a vacation, and a momcation is no different. While you may use the time to be productive, it ought to be restorative as well.

After arriving at my destination, I spent an hour in line at Whole Foods. It started raining, I was cold – I’d forgotten to pack a sweater – and so instead of exploring a new restaurant like I’d intended, I went back to the apartment, zapped a microwave burrito, struggled with the beginning of my book proposal, and went to bed. It was pretty uneventful.

Fortunately, I woke up with a clearer head and zero distractions (the beauty of a strategic absence!), and I got straight to work. By day two, I knew I wasn’t going to end the weekend emailing my agent the 30 perfect pages of prose I’d promised her, but that was OK.

Ignore your buzzing phone

The most important part of a strategic absence is to protect yourself from intruders. Trust me, they will intrude.

A good friend will need to process the fight she’s having with her husband. Your cousin will want to know how your strategic absence is going or talk about where your moms went wrong when you were both kids. If enjoying phone conversations without screaming kids in the background was part of the plan, allow it, but if not, send those calls to voicemail.

The second I arrived and before I even put my bags down, I got a text from my husband complaining I’d overfilled the garbage can. It wasn’t a conversation we needed to have right then, and so I didn’t respond. I checked in with my family every night before bed, but other than that I ignored his messages.

Sure, I felt a little guilty, but they were never an emergency and I knew I wasn’t obligated to respond.

When I got home, my husband admitted that he’d actually enjoyed his time solo-parenting and said that, in some respects, it was easier. This isn’t unusual: Often without the primary parent’s micromanagement, the secondary parental figure develops competences and confidence. Do it often enough, and a strategic absence teaches your kids they can rely on both parents, not just mom.

In the end, I came back feeling more rested, connected to myself, appreciative of my family, and eager for my next escape.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Your Memorial Day is about to get a lot more expensive. From hot dogs to fuel, here are some of the products in short supply.

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  • As the vaccination rate picks up, demand is outpacing the supplies of many key goods.
  • Americans will face several prices hikes and shortages this Memorial Day.
  • Insider rounded up all the products that may be difficult to find over the holiday weekend.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Everywhere you look, there seems to be a new shortage popping up in America’s currently very strange economy. From chicken to gas, it’s getting harder to come by items as supply-chain issues, outsized demand, and the climate crisis all converge to choke accessibility.

But as Americans learn to live in a new normal yet again – this time with vaccines, fewer masks, and slightly eased pandemic-era restrictions – demand for things like travel and hotels is on the rise. With a long weekend coming up, Americans are ready to get back into the world. But the economy may not be ready for them: Here are the shortages that could plague Memorial Day weekend.

Vacation homes

Vacation home

Vacation-home rentals in the US are at an all-time high this year.

More people are looking to travel as the vaccination rate increases. In the US, 65% of people plan to travel more this year than before the pandemic started and 82% of families have already made vacation plans, according to online rental hub Vrbo.

If you haven’t rented out a vacation home yet, it might be too late to find one this year: 85% of vacation rentals in Cape Cod, the Outer Banks, and along the Jersey shore, are booked through August, Vrbo said.

Prices for vacation homes are skyrocketing, CNBC reported last month. Rentals in premium locations are going for record sums. One house in the Hamptons rented for $2 million this summer.

 

Hotels and motels

hotel reception

It’s not just vacation and rental homes seeing a surge: Hotels and motels saw their costs increase by 8.8% in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

CNBC reports that nightly prices are on the rise, and are likely only to increase as summer travel goes into full swing. In fact, prices in coveted areas, like beaches, have soared above pre-pandemic levels.

While some industries say they’re struggling to find workers and staff up, the leisure and hospitality sector actually saw notable gains in April’s jobs report. While the report came in far below expectations — with just 266,000 jobs added, instead of the expected 1 million — leisure and hospitality emerged the strongest.

The industry added 331,000 payrolls. While that’s a promising sign of recovery, some experts say even those additions aren’t coming fast enough.

 

 

Fuel

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Americans looking to hit the road for Memorial Day weekend will face soaring gas prices.

The price of fuel surged to a seven-year high on Wednesday. Fallout from a cyberattack on the nation’s largest fuel pipeline devastated the supply chain, pushing the average price in the US over $3 per gallon. The 5,500-mile oil pipeline reopened on Thursday, but Reuters reported it could take weeks for fuel supply to return to normal, after consumers rushed to stock up on gasoline over the week.

Prior to the cyberattack last weekend, prices were not expected to see another significant spike until after Memorial Day, when travel is expected to push demand even higher at the end of the month.

But, even before the pipeline was shut down, gas prices were skyrocketing as demand outstrips dwindling fuel supplies. In April, fuel prices leaped 9% in their largest one-month increase in nine years as shipping container shortages, port delays, and OPEC production cuts made the commodity increasingly valuable.

A new or used car

Car Dealership
New Chevys for sale fill the lot at Raymond Chevrolet in Antioch, Illinois, July 17, 2014.

If you wanted to buy a car for that summer road trip you’ve been planning since March 2020, you may find yourself up against some fierce competition — and ever-increasing prices.

New cars are in short supply due to an ongoing shortage of the computer chips that power everything from the Bluetooth in cars to iPads, and their scarcity has been felt all over the economy. Some car manufacturers had to halt production at the start of the year, leading to more elusive models and higher prices.

That’s trickled down into the used-car market. In April, used car prices jumped by 10%. Insider’s Ben Winck reported that that was the largest one-month increase since 1953, when data first started to get collected. In fact, that price jump accounted for around a third of April’s big 0.8% jump in inflation from the previous month.

Experts attribute the shortage to demand for vehicles, especially as new cars are harder to come by, and rental car services attempting to rebuild fleets; many sold off some of their cars at the onset of the pandemic. 

Rental cars are also in high demand. As Americans clamor to travel again, there’s a “perfect storm” brewing, Insider’s Brittany Chang reports.

In hot tourist destinations, prices are surging; Jonathan Weinberg, the founder and CEO of AutoSlash, told Chang that some rental cars in Hawaii are going for over $500 a day — a massive increase from the usual $50. And rental car companies are expecting strong demand over the summer for their reduced fleets, all while coming up against the computer chip shortage.

But vacation goers might still find it expensive and difficult to get around if they’re counting on rideshare drivers. Uber and Lyft have been trying to lure drivers back to work with new incentives, but there’s still a persistent driver shortage. That’s due to a variety of factors, as drivers worry about safety and find stability in enhanced stimulus benefits.

Airfare

woman flight airplane mask
A woman disembarks from an airplane.

If you’re planning on jetsetting over Memorial Day weekend, you may find the shockingly low flight prices of the pandemic have vanished.

In April, airline fares increased by 10.2%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

That’s not to say there aren’t deals, as airlines unleashed a week of wild international flight deals in April; the risk with those, as Insider’s Tom Pallini reported, is that it’s unclear if those countries will be open to American visitors.

But, as the Washington Post reports, it could be a different story for domestic flights, especially over the summer. Rising demand and fares could be concentrated over the summer, as Americans race to take advantage of the weather and newly loosened pandemic restrictions.

Adit Damodaran, an economist at travel booking app Hopper, told Insider’s Jamie Ditaranto that demand is concentrated around late May and early June — and that prices may rise by 15%.

Bacon and hot dogs

hot dogs on grill

Memorial Day barbeques will be impacted by the supply snags.

Bacon and hot dogs may be difficult to find in grocery stores, due to a global pig shortage. The hog industry has faced several setbacks this past year. High instances of swine decimated hog populations this past winter and COVID-19 outbreaks in at least 167 meat-processing plants forcing almost 40 plants to close as of June 2020.

Demand will likely outstrip supply as people stock up on the meat for cookouts on Memorial Day weekend.

 

Fireworks

Fireworks
Illegal fireworks illuminate the sky over the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, U.S., June 19, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

It will be more expensive to celebrate the holiday with fireworks this year.

Superior Fireworks announced they were increasing their prices about 15% this year — the highest the company has ever had to hike prices in its 20-year history.

The company is one of many fireworks producers that have been forced to raise prices in order to compensate for higher shipping and production costs.

Chlorine

Lodge at Kukuiula
The property’s infinity pool.

Vacationers looking to relax in the pool during the holiday weekend may face difficulty finding clean pools.

Last month CNBC reported the US is facing the worst chlorine shortage in history. Prices for the chemical used to clean pools has nearly doubled this past year and is only expected to continue to rise with warm weather.

Pool owners can avoid the shortage by using saltwater pools instead, according to Insider’s Annabelle Williams.

Imported goods like wine and cheese

food membership
wine with cheese

Vacationers will pay top dollar for imported food.

Good from overseas, including seafood, cheese, and wine are facing months of shipping delays. Some grocery stores, including Costco have already reported shortage of imported food, while other companies have already begun to hike prices in response.

Last month, Coca-Cola and General Mills announced they were raising their prices.

Restaurant service

los angeles outdoor dining
A waitress takes customers’ orders in the outdoor seating area of a restaurant on January 28, 2021 in Los Angeles.

People looking to eat out over the holiday weekend may find difficulty getting service at local restaurants.

Major labor shortages have rocked the restaurant industry. After laying off millions of workers at the onset of the pandemic, many restaurants are struggling to bring workers back as they reopen.

Restaurant chains have rolled out new incentives to lure employees back, according to Insider’s Kate Taylor. But, many frontline workers are hesitant to return to work over concerns regarding COVID-19 safety, as well as childcare, Insider’s Ayelet Sheffey reported.

Read the original article on Business Insider