Workers, Get Ready for the Great Rebalancing
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Workers, Get Ready for the Great Rebalancing

This may be the year when employer-employee power dynamics begin to normalize

By CALLUM BORCHERS
Mon, Jan 16, 2023 8:28amGrey Clock 2 min

American workers’ wild ride is coming to an end.

After three whiplash-inducing years of, first, professional vulnerability and, then, perceived invincibility, many people are returning to more typical levels of career security and leverage.

Call it the Great Rebalancing of the employer-employee relationship.

“We’re clearly headed there,” says Heidi Shierholz, president of the Economic Policy Institute.

Not long ago, at the pandemic’s onset, things were so bad that people lost jobs in record numbers as the U.S. unemployment rate reached 14.7%. Then things got so good that workers resigned in record numbers. There was a catchy name for this trend, I believe.

Adding to the volatility, savings swelled and shrivelled with the stock market, causing some people to lurch between hope for an early retirement and fear of working forever. Raises that made some feel flush were offset by inflation, in many cases.

The “quiet quitters” who reduced their on-the-job efforts while feeling untouchable last year may now be angling to fill key roles when their companies freeze or cut head counts.

Ms. Shierholz says that workers are still in good shape, overall, but certain key metrics are trending down toward normal ranges. December’s hourly earnings increase of 4.6% from a year earlier was the smallest rise since mid-2021, and the 223,000 additional jobs were the fewest per month in two years.

To complain about such decreases would be akin to griping if Yankees slugger Aaron Judge were to hit only 50 home runs this year, after smacking an American League-record 62 last season. It’s unrealistic to expect new peaks all the time, and it’s worth remembering what 2020 was like. (Mr. Judge, beset by injuries, hit 9 homers that year, by the way.)

Francesco Carucci, a California software developer, says he knew that his pay package was “wildly inflated” when he joined Meta Platforms Inc. last January. He says Facebook’s parent company tripled the total compensation that he earned at his previous employer, amid a hiring spree in a historically tight labor market.

Then Meta laid off Mr. Carucci late last year in a round of 11,000 job cuts. Being aware of his bloated comp didn’t dull the sting of losing it, he says, and he got an additional reality check this month when he accepted an offer that is worth half of the one he received a year ago.

Still, he says his new pay is reasonable—more than what he made a few years ago—and the interview and negotiation process was more in line with what he has usually experienced over a 25-year career. He adds that he’s trying not to take the layoff personally. He views it instead as part of a natural and inevitable correction to the job market.

Others would do well to practice the same attitude. Andy Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which helps companies manage layoffs and provides career coaching to the dismissed, tells me that business is picking back up after two of the slowest years in the firm’s history. He offers a blunt translation of what that means: “We know that there are a lot more layoffs coming.”

Ominous as that sounds, Mr. Challenger says the prospects of finding new work are generally good. Job openings, while shrinking, still outnumber the unemployed by several million, according to federal data. He expects that gap to narrow as the year goes on and advises job seekers to redouble their urgency.

“It’s not a time to lay back and feel too comfortable about the tight labor market,” he says. “Even if you’re getting lots of messages from recruiters today, that can dry up pretty quickly as things turn.”



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Clocking out to Turn Back Time—Vacations That Will Help You Live Longer
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Booming demand for wellness tourism shows no slowing, with travel related to health and well-being projected to have reached $1 trillion last year and to hit $1.3 trillion by 2025, according to the Global Wellness Institute, a nonprofit based in Miami.

Curated wellness travel programs are especially sought-after, specifically holistic treatments focused on longevity. Affluent travellers not only are making time to hit the gym while gallivanting across the globe, they’re also seeking destinations that specifically cater to their wellness goals, including treatments aimed at living longer.

“I believe Covid did put a spotlight on self-care and well-being,” says Penny Kriel, corporate director of spa and wellness at Salamander Collection, a group of luxury properties in places like Washington, D.C., and Charleston, South Carolina. But Kriel says today’s spas are more holistic, encouraging folks to understand the wellness concept and incorporate it into their lifestyle more frequently.

“With the evolution of treatment products and technology, spas have been able to enhance their offerings and appeal to more travellers,” Kriel says.

While some growth is connected to the variety of treatments available, results and the digital world are also contributing to the wellness boom.

“The efficacy and benefits of these treatments continue to drive bookings and interest, especially with the support of social media, influencers, and celebrity endorsements,” Kriel says.

While genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices such as regular exercise, a diet free of processed foods, sufficient sleep, and human connection play essential roles in living well and longer, experts believe in holistic therapies to help manage stress, boost immunity, and ultimately influence length and quality of life.

Anti Ageing and Beyond

“For years, people have been coming to spas, booking treatments, and gaining advice on how to turn the clock back with anti ageing and corrective skin treatments,” Kriel says. However, today’s treatments are far more innovative.

On Marinella Beach in Porto Rotondo, on the Italian island of Sardinia, guests at the five-star Abi d’Oru Hotel & Spa can experience the resort’s one-of-a-kind “longevity treatment,” a unique antiaging facial using one of the island’s native grapes: Cannonau. The world’s first declared “Blue Zone”—one of five designated areas where people live longer than average, some into their 100s—Sardinia produces this robust red wine varietal, the most widely planted on the island.

Known as Garnacha in Spain and Grenache in France, Cannonau supposedly contains two to three times more antioxidants than other red-wine grapes. By incorporating Cannonau, Abi Spa says its unique 50-minute longevity session increases collagen production for firmer, younger-looking skin.

Maintaining a youthful appearance is just one facet of longevity treatments, which range from stress-reduction sessions like massage to nutritional support and sleep programs, Kriel says. Some retreats also offer medical services such as IV infusions and joint injections.

Keeping with the trend, Kriel is expanding Salamander Collection’s existing spa services, such as detox wraps and lymphatic drainage, to include dedicated “Wellness Rooms,” new vegan and vegetarian menu items, and well-being workshops. “Sleep, nutrition, and mindfulness will be a big focus for integration in 2024,” she says.

Data-Driven Wellness

Skyler Stillings, an exercise physiologist at Sensei Lanai, a Four Seasons Resort—an adults-only wellness centre in Lanai, Hawaii—says guests were drawn to the social aspect when the spa opened in November 2021.

“We saw a huge need for human connection,” she recalls. But over the past few years, what’s paramount has shifted. “Longevity is trending much more right now.”

Human connection is a central draw for guests at Sensei Lanai, an adults-only and wellness-focused Four Seasons Resort in Hawaii.
Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort

Billionaire co-founder of tech company Oracle Larry Ellison and physician and scientist Dr. David Angus co-founded Sensei. After the death of a mutual close friend, the duo teamed up to create longevity-based wellness retreats to nurture preventative care and a healthy lifestyle. In addition to the Lanai location, the brand established Sensei Porcupine Creek in Greater Palm Springs, California, in November 2022.

Sensei has a data-driven approach. The team performs a series of assessments to obtain a clearer picture of a guest’s health, making wellness recommendations based on the findings. While Sensei analyses that data to curate a personalised plan, Stillings says it’s up to the guests which path they choose.

Sensei’s core three-day retreat is a “Guided Wellness Experience.” For spa treatments, each guest checks into their own “Spa Hale,” a private 1,000-square-foot bungalow furnished with an infrared sauna, a steam shower, a soaking tub, and plunge pools. The latest therapies include Sarga Bodywalking—a barefoot myofascial release massage, and “Four Hands in Harmony,” a massage with two therapists working in tandem. Sensei Guides provide take-home plans so guests can continue their wellness journeys after the spa.

Sensei Lanai, an adults-only and wellness-focused Four Seasons Resort in Hawaii.
Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort

Sanctuaries for Longevity

Headquartered in Switzerland with hotels and on-site spas across the globe, Aman Resorts features an integrative approach, combining traditional remedies with modern medicine’s advanced technologies. Tucked behind the doors of the storied Crown Building in Midtown Manhattan, Banya Spa House at Aman New York—the brand’s flagship spa in the Western Hemisphere—is a 25,000-square-foot, three-floor urban oasis.

Yuki Kiyono, global head of health and wellness development at Aman, says the centre provides access to holistic and cutting-edge treatments benefiting physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being. Aman’s customisable “Immersion Programs” consist of a three- or five-day immersion. “The programs encompass treatments and experiences that touch every significant aspect to create a path for longevity, from meditation and mindfulness to nutrition and movement,” Kiyono explains.

Banya Spa House at Aman New York.
Robert Rieger

The spa’s “Tei-An Wellness Solution” features 90- to 150-minute sessions using massage, cryotherapy, and Vitamin IV infusions. Acupuncture is also on offer.

“With its rich history of Chinese Medicine, modern research, and the introduction of sophisticated electro-acupuncture medicine, acupuncture has been proven to assist with problems and increase performance,” Kiyono says.

Resetting the Mind and Body

Beyond longevity, “healthspan”—the number of years a person can live in good health free of chronic disease—is the cornerstone of Mountain Trek Health Reset Retreat’s program in British Columbia, Canada.

Kirk Shave, president and program director, and his team employ a holistic approach, using lifestyles in long-living Blue Zones as a point of reference.

“We improve our daily lifestyle habits, so we live vitally as long as we’re meant to live,” Shave says of the retreat. He built the program from an anthropological stance, referencing humans as farmers, hunters, and gatherers based on their eating and sleeping patterns. Food includes vegetable-centric meals sans alcohol, sugar, bread, or dairy.

Guests wake at dawn each day and have access to sunrise yoga, several hours of “flow” or slow hiking, spa treatments, forest bathing, calming crystal singing-bowl and sound therapy sessions, and classes on stress reduction—one of Mountain Trek’s primary goals. The program motivates people to spend much of their time in nature because it’s been proven to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone that can lead to inflammation and disease when elevated for extended periods.

While most guests aren’t aware of how immersive Mountain Trek’s program is when they arrive, they leave the resort revitalized after the structured, one-week program. Set in the Kootenays overlooking its eponymous river, the resort and adventure promise what Shave calls a “visceral experience of transformation.”

“They’re interested in coming to be in nature,” Shave says of the guests. “They hit a wall in their life and slipped backwards, so they know they need a reset.”

Banya Spa House at Aman New York provides access to holistic and cutting-edge treatments benefiting physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being.
Robert Rieger

This article first appeared in the Winter 2024 issue of Mansion Global Experience Luxury.

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