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COVID-19 has accelerated the rise of the dreaded "workcation"

The pandemic has popularized "workcations" — going on a vacation, but working while there.

Why it matters: Just because work-from-anywhere means we can work on vacation doesn't mean we should. Experts warn that the pandemic's upending of work-life balance could drastically worsen burnout in the U.S.

What's happening: 74% of Americans who are working from home said they’d consider taking a workcation, per Harris Poll data reported by Axios.

"The kind of work that more and more people do doesn’t fit neatly into time and place," says Michael Leiter, a professor of psychology at Acadia University. "It’s not like you stop thinking about it when the clock hits 5pm."

  • Pandemic-era remote work has only accelerated the uncoupling of work from time and location, and that means the line between working and not working is increasingly blurry.
  • And when work can happen anytime and anywhere, boundaries aren't automatically set. "You have to make that happen," Leiter says.

The big picture: Americans have always underused vacation days, and we're working even longer days during the pandemic.

  • American workers also work 50% more than those in Germany, France and Italy, per a National Bureau of Economic Research paper. But "there's no sign that the U.S. is more productive because of that," Leiter says. "It’s not doing us any good to work all the time."
  • In fact, Stanford researchers found that workplace stress costs the U.S. around $190 billion a year.

It's not just on individual workers to prioritize vacations, experts say. Companies and managers need to encourage their employees to unplug — especially during times of economic strife like the pandemic, when workers may be worried about job security and are reluctant to take time off.

  • Strategies include implementing company-wide days off and encouraging workers to take time off for mental health even if they don't have trips planned, Sabina Nawaz, a CEO coach and consultant, writes in the Harvard Business Review.
  • "It starts at the top," says Darren Murph, head of remote work at GitLab, the world's largest all-remote company. "GitLab executives visibly take time off and will share in public channels. Disconnecting from work has to be celebrated at the highest level to set the tone for everyone else in the organization to recognize that recharging is supported and encouraged."

The bottom line: Vacations enrich your potential to contribute at work, Leiter says. When you stop thinking about work, "it just opens your mind in a whole different way. That distancing is part of how you recover your energy."

  • You can't reap any of those benefits on a workcation.

Israel to continue Gaza operation, officials rule out cease-fire for now

The Israeli security cabinet on Sunday decided to continue the Gaza operation, according to military plans. Israeli officials said a cease-fire is not on the table right now.

Why it matters: There was a growing feeling within the military and senior defense establishment ahead of the cabinet meeting that Israel should start moving toward ending the operation.

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Liz Cheney says she regrets voting for Trump in 2020

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who was ousted Wednesday as the third-highest ranking House Republican, told ABC's "This Week" that she regrets voting for former President Trump in 2020, although she could never have supported Biden.

Why it matters: Cheney, voted out of House Republican leadership over her repeated condemnation of Trump and his unfounded claims of election fraud, plans to challenge the former president for ideological dominance of the GOP.

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Blinken speaks with Associated Press CEO after Israeli airstrike destroys Gaza office

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Associated Press CEO Gary Pruitt on Saturday after an Israeli airstrike destroyed the outlet's local media office in the Gaza Strip, which also housed the Al Jazeera office.

Why it matters: "The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what transpired today" Pruitt said in a statement — as fighting between Israel and Hamas continues to bring more casualties.

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Consumers and retailers alike are still trying to figure out what Americans will want to wear as they head back out into the world after a year at home, in sweatpants.

Why it matters: The choices people make about their post-pandemic wardrobes will help define what, exactly, our “new normal” is. They'll indicate how both work and socializing have changed, and will tell the story of how people expressed themselves in the aftermath of a year of massive transformation.

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UN Security Council meeting on Israel-Gaza as Netanyahu vows to continue strikes

The United Nations Security Council was preparing to meet Sunday, as the aerial bombardment between Israel and Hamas between entered a seventh day.

The latest: Four Palestinians died in airstrikes early Sunday, as Israeli forces bombed the home of Gaza's Hamas chief, Yehya al-Sinwar, per Reuters.

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In photos: Protesters rally across U.S. and the world over Israeli–Palestinian conflict

Thousands of people rallied across the U.S. and the world Saturday following days of violence in Gaza and Israel that's killed at least 145 Palestinians, including 41 children, and eight Israelis, per AP.

The big picture: Most demonstrations were in support of Palestinians. There were tense scenes between pro-Israeli government protesters and pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Winnipeg, Canada, and Leipzig, Germany, but no arrests were made, CBS News and report.

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Biden in call with Netanyahu raises concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza

President Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Saturday and raised concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza and the bombing of the building that housed AP and other media offices, according to Israeli officials.

The big picture: At least 140 Palestinians, including dozens of children have been killed in Gaza since fighting between Israel and Hamas began Monday, according to Palestinian health officials. Nine people, including two children, have been killed by Hamas rockets in Israel.

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The COVID lab-leak theory goes mainstream

A group of high-profile scientists published a letter calling for renewed investigation into the origins of COVID-19 — including the theory that it spilled out of a virology lab.

Why it matters: The possibility that SARS-CoV-2 was created in a Chinese lab and accidentally escaped — rather than emerging naturally from an animal — was initially dismissed as a conspiracy theory. But the letter shows a potential lab leak is increasingly being taken seriously.

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