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TICKER VIEWS – Should your boss pay you to work from home?

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The pandemic has completely reshaped the way many of us work. In March 2020, the whole world turned upside down, as the realisation swept across parliaments and businesses that we were in for an unprecedented journey.

Almost overnight, and for some, definitely overnight, they were suddenly working from home, if they were working at all.

Let’s be honest, it felt like the beginning of a great holiday. Zoom calls in your PJs – more time with the dog.

But as time went on, a bit like two weeks in hotel quarantine, we started to notice a few key issues. Firstly, humans like to change up their surroundings. It’s why we go on holidays to different places, have dinner at different restaurants.

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We also miss seeing our colleagues. Just the general office banter of “how’s your weekend?” or “Did you see MAFS?” was suddenly missing from our lives. Don’t get me started on Zoom fatigue. That was day three right?

But the thing most people noticed… was their utility bills went through the roof. Suddenly, many of us were home… all the time. In the cooler states, that meant we were blasting the heater while powering our devices.

Essentially what happened, without anyone really thinking about it, as companies were able to shift their costs of doing business… to the employees.

And it’s big business.

Google pocketed $268 million in related savings during the last quarter, which equates to $1 billion on an annual basis. Essentially all those Google workers got on their little colourful bikes and rode home, never coming back.

A billion dollars in savings!

But some people have been fighting back. I’m aware of a law firm where the staff began invoicing their bosses. First it was for thing like laptops and iPads. Makes sense right? And why shouldn’t they pay.

Then it turned to splitting the electricity and water bill – making sure employees were fairly paid for the extra power they were consuming at home.

Some even went a step further. I’m aware of one company whose employees started invoicing them for toilet paper! It was a law firm, so I’d love to know how that one ended up.

It’s not all bad

But while we tally up the total cost to employees, there are also some amazing savings we’ve seen too. For example, the savings in tolls and commuting fees like public transport tickets. In London, March 2020 saw a 95% drop off in user trips. That’s incredible. And anyone who has used the London Underground would know… it’s not cheap.

Then there’s the coffee budget. I’m a strong skinny latte man myself. Usually about $4.50. That becomes pretty expensive when you have it every day, and then reach for a second on around 11am right. So many of us have turned to Nescafe or the dreaded International Roast to get by! While others have seen a walk to the nearby suburban coffee shop as a good way to get out of the house between Zooms.

But now it’s time to return

I’m a big believer in the saying “no man is an island”. A home should not be a prison, and as people we really do need to connect. I’ve spoken to other employers who really struggle with keeping the team together, and being able to make sure tasks are being completed. We have all just emerged from a shockingly real human experiment. For some introverts, WFH has been the best thing ever (I call them cat people) – but for others, it’s been a year of anxiety and uncertainty. And usually the best antidote for that is human connection, and a good laugh. And for that, I’d happily pay a train fare.

Tech

TICKER NEWS is available on podcast apps

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For the first time, TICKER NEWS is now available on podcast apps, allowing you to hear the latest news, plus special programs

TICKER NEWS is now available as a podcast.

You can catch up on the latest news, or programs devoted to special topics including U.S. politics and TICKER AIR.

TICKER CEO Ahron Young says:

“TICKER always puts the story first. Video is in our DNA, but we want TICKER content to be available however our audience wants to enjoy it.”

“We are putting significant resources into TICKER content to make sure we get to the heart of the stories we cover.”

TICKER AIR is one of the podcasts available from TICKER

The first podcast to air is TICKER AIR, cohosted by Ahron Young and Geoffrey Thomas from Airlineratings.com

Every day, two full world news bulletins will be available, as well as three special documentary programs.

TICKER podcasts are available daily on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts. Just search TICKER NEWS to subscribe.

APPLE PODCAST – https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/ticker-news/id1632145760

SPOTIFY – https://open.spotify.com/show/3iidnXUXPDVWG2QMEhN0Kt?si=e2e195a8ee584fa6

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Tech

Five reasons it’s so expensive to travel right now

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We’ve been waiting years to go on holiday, but wow it’s expensive to fly. Here are the five reasons it’s so expensive to travel right now

Remember the good old days of competition in the travel industry? Those were the days. Now every time you look to book a flight, the prices are soaring. Even if you want to use your points.

The airline industry is complex, so a total shut down of the industry was always going to have long term effects. The long hangover from the shutdowns and lockdowns are with us.

So let’s break down the five key reasons your flight is so expensive.

“Revenge travel”

It’s not just you who wants to go overseas and change up the scenery. Everyone else is thinking the same thing.

And as the northern hemisphere enjoys its first lockdown free summer in years, everyone is clamouring to use all that saved up cash, topped up with government assistance, to spend on flights.

The simple supply versus demand philosophy means it’s become an airline’s dream to push up prices while often pushing down the value of the ticket. How bad are those airline meals at the moment?

Big planes are grounded

Remember the good old 747 and A380s? Well you’re doing well to find a 747 in the skies these days. The last remaining airlines that were operating them used the cover of COVID to either reduce their fleet of the ageing Queen of the Skies, or retire them altogether.

Then there’s the A380, which is integral to huge airline flees like Emirates.

They were first to go into storage in the desert in 2020 as the pandemic hit. Airlines noticed its often cheaper to fly two 787s on the same route as an A380. So they are begrudgingly bringing the super jumbo back, but only once all their 787s are back in service first.

Don’t you just long for the days of extra space on a plane?

Rocketing fuel prices

In some cases, spot prices for aviation fuel has soared to 80 per cent! Airlines usually rely on hedging fuel prices (as in locking the price in in advance). But not many carriers in Asia do that, meaning they are at risk of fluctuating oil prices.

Airlines have a simple strategy for dealing with rising fuel prices – passing the cost on to consumers. Some passengers flying out of Asia are finding that a flight to London in economy is now $5000, five times the price.

The war in Ukraine hasn’t helped matters either, with Russian oil now missing from the global supply chain. That’s pushing up the cost of resources everywhere, and there’s no sign that’s about to end.

Lack of staff

Airline staff get COVID too, and in some (hilarious) cases, front line staff are returning to stop working from home!

Airlines have rules in place regarding how many flight attendants and pilots need to be on board an aircraft. And with so many different types of planes in service, some flight attendants can only work on certain aircraft types.

That severely limits the capability of airlines to quickly man aircraft in an emergency. And one cancellation snowballs into a travel nightmare.

Airports are struggling too. Lack of maintenance at baggage carousels and airport equipment means some airports are relying on just one vehicle to help every plane back out of a gate.

Remember when the pandemic hit and airlines sacked thousands of workers? The airlines didn’t think they would need them all back so quickly, and highly skilled pilots went on to find other, perhaps more stable jobs.

Accountants taking over

Airlines are big businesses with gigantic overheads. Think of the cost of a plane, which often reaches over $300 million.

Then add the cost of airports, fuel and staff.

Qantas had a debt bomb of $6.5 billion at the height of the pandemic, and while governments have been throwing money at airlines to stay in business, they still are a business.

Airlines need to make a profit, they need to return value to shareholders, and they need to pay down debt to stay financial. Not to mention cashflow.

So regardless of the airport queue, or the soggy sandwich you’re eating in business class, think of the balding accountants praying for good news.

And keep your eye out for some bargains. It’s not all doom and gloom. Some airlines are even allowing you to burn your points on upgrades. So why fly economy?

And if you can hang on a few months longer, you might enjoy cheaper fares. But no promises.

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Media

Disney vs Netflix – who will win the streaming revenue raise?

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Netflix and Disney shares fall as the streaming companies fight to stay on top of their game

Investors to evaluate Walt Disney’s shift from cable television to subscription service as the company’s shares fall by 31 percent.

This comes after Netflix announced its first ever decrease in subscribers last month. The company reported a loss of 200,000 subscribers in its first quarter while predicting more losses ahead.

Netflix’s decision to suspend its services in Russia also led to a loss of 700,000 subscribers. It’s shares have also fallen by a staggering 71 percent this year, a bigger loss than its competitor Disney.

While Netflix struggles with its subscriber count, FactSet Estimates predicts Disney+ to have attracted 5.3 million new subscribers through march leading to a total of about 135.1 million subscribers.

Disney also predicts it will have amassed more than 230 million subscribers by September 2024.

Netflix is reportedly considering adding an advertisement-based subscription option by the end of the year as the company looks at how to stay competitive in the increasingly saturated streaming market.

In a previous statement, Netflix’s chief executive said they were looking to introduce advertisements in a year or two but a leaked internal note to the employees has revealed the company is introducing it as early as October 2022.

The note also says Netflix will begin cracking down on password sharing by monetizing it.

All of this has resulted in Netflix being sued by shareholders who argue they have been mislead about the state of the company and future prospects.

Rijul Baath contributed to this report

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