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Work In Progress

Work → In Progress: Why 'Financial Wellness' Is Not Just About A Raise

The workplace wellness trend now includes the very practical questions about how, when and how much we get paid, and is shaping up to be the next step in blurring the lines between personal and professional that were once so neatly divided.

Work → In Progress: Why 'Financial Wellness' Is Not Just About A Raise
Rozena Crossman

We’re approaching the end of Q1 of 2022 and the “wellness” trend that’s usually reserved for millennials’ yoga mats has officially made its way into the professional world. After two years of realizing that job setups don’t always favor employees’ health, the call for sweeping workplace changes — ranging from more medical access to an HR focus on mental well-being — is in full swing.

But wouldn't you know: the latest professional self-care trend carries a notably practical air: financial wellness.

Bank of America’s 2021 Workplace Benefits Report mentioned “financial wellness” 43 times, which it defined as “the type of support employers are offering to address financial needs.” But is making money not the point of work? It seems this new rebranding of how work relates to cash is indicative of how differently we now view employment.

The financial wellness movement doesn’t want companies to just fairly compensate employees but instead to teach them how to manage their salaries, be it saving for retirement, navigating debt or budgeting.

Following in the footsteps of remote work, this trend is shaping up to be the next step in blurring the lines between personal and professional that were once so neatly divided. But it’s just one of many factors at play. From spying on employees’ online activity and rejecting telework to consolidating a labor market by using a common language, this edition of Work → In Progress gives you the good, the bad and the ugly of the latest news in work:


Mere months after China’s Personal Information Protection Law was implemented, controversy stirred when a company found out their employee was searching for other jobs by spying on his internet activity… and fired him. South China Morning Post reports the company allegedly used a system that tracked if an employee had checked job sites, sent applications, and then ranked “employees by the level of perceived resignation risk.” The information, however, was apparently tracked on the company’s own computers. How private is employee data if they’re using their employer’s devices?


While some countries are pulling out all the stops to attract remote workers, others want to put a lid on it. According to French media Welcome To The Jungle, Japanese employee productivity was reported to have dropped 20% due to a corporate culture that favors teamwork. Meanwhile, the Czech Republic remains the only country that hasn’t given telework a legal status, in part due to their strong culture of hierarchy. Angola scored 0 in all of the three criteria used by LGMB Worklabs to assess a location’s “teleworkability”: legal, cultural and technical.



The African Union recently decided to adopt Swahili (known as Kiswahili to native speakers) as an official language recognized for work. According to Actu Cameroun, the language is spoken in 14 countries on a continent that is rapidly drawing international investors. Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia has announced the launch of a Kiswahili language education program. The university’s president explained, “Having a common language has wider importance on the development of culture, politics and economy as well as for the welfare of the society in the region.”


Following a similar trend to countries like Spain, Iceland and Japan, the Belgian government has approved a plan that will allow workers to choose a 4-day work week and enforces their right not to respond to messages after office hours. According to La Voix Du Nord, the measure still needs to be put before parliament, but its proponents hope these more flexible ways of working will raise the country’s employment rate to 80% by 2030 (currently at 71%).


Meanwhile, Mexico has some of the shortest legal paid vacation time in the entire world, thanks to a law that hasn’t changed in 50 years. With only 6 days off per year, available only after having completed one year of work at the company, Mexico was deemed as having some of the most precarious work regulations in Latin America by El País México. Yet two reform proposals were presented to parliament early this year, keeping the country in step with the international worklife revolution currently taking place.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Why The U.S. Lost Its Leverage In The Middle East — And May Never Get It Back

In the Israel-Hamas war, Qatar now plays the key role in negotiations, while the United States appears increasingly disengaged. Shifts in the region and beyond require that Washington move quickly or risk ceding influence to China and others for the long term.

Photograph of U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken  shaking hands with sraeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

November 30, 2023, Tel Aviv, Israel: U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken shakes hands with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Chuck Kennedy/U.S State/ZUMA
Sébastien Boussois


PARIS — Upon assuming office in 2008, then-President Barack Obama declared that United States would gradually begin withdrawing from various conflict zones across the globe, initiating a complex process that has had a major impact on the international landscape ever since.

This started with the American departure from Iraq in 2010, and was followed by Donald Trump's presidency, during which the "Make America Great Again" policy redirected attention to America's domestic interests.

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The withdrawal trend resumed under Joe Biden, who ordered the exit of U.S. forces from Afghanistan in 2021. To maintain a foothold in all intricate regions to the east, America requires secure and stable partnerships. The recent struggle in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict demonstrates that Washington increasingly relies on the allied Gulf states for any enduring influence.

Since the collapse of the Camp David Accords in 1999 during Bill Clinton's tenure, Washington has consistently supported Israel without pursuing renewed peace talks that could have led to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

While President Joe Biden's recent challenges in pushing for a Gaza ceasefire met with resistance from an unyielding Benjamin Netanyahu, they also stem from the United States' overall disengagement from the issue over the past two decades. Biden now is seeking to re-engage in the Israel-Palestine matter, yet it is Qatar that is the primary broker for significant negotiations such as the release of hostages in exchange for a ceasefire —a situation the United States lacks the leverage to enforce.

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