In a Nutshell: Working parents find balance; 5 tips to shed pounds; Saving faster with online banks

In a Nutshell: Working parents find balance

In the pursuit of having more time to spend with their families, an increasing number of working parents are requesting flexible working options from their employers, suggests new research.

Often referred to as “co-working,” a flexible workspace offers individuals and employees a productive and collaborative environment to work. Co-working has risen in popularity over the past decade and new research from flexible workspace provider, Regus, found that 85 percent of working parents would forfeit other benefits to take up flexible working, with 81 percent surveyed believing the top benefit is a better work-life balance.

The growth of flexible workspace means that people increasingly have access to these locations no matter where they are, offering users the potential to skip a long commute and work closer to home. So, what would parents do with that extra time? According to the Regus survey, the number one activity parents would spend their time on, instead of commuting, is being with family (71 percent), followed by having “me-time,” like taking a long bath or meeting friends (38 percent).

Employers should take note, as flexible working options are a top priority for employed parents. Ninety-six percent of working parents say that they would work for an employer that provides flexible working as part of a benefits package and 74 percent say they are willing to take on a different job if it offered a range of working locations.

Looking to make the switch? Regus is sharing top tips to incorporate flexible working into your current employment situation:

• Negotiate: If this option is not yet offered by your employer, negotiate. See if you can swap one benefit you may not use. For example, 85 percent of working parents reported that they are willing to work through their lunchbreak, and 85 percent would forfeit other benefits, like a company gym membership, to take up flexible working.

• Think creatively about location: Commuting isn’t only about the time spent traveling from your front door to the office. It may be better for you to be near your child’s school or daycare, or near a client, rather than your main office. Flexible working can make this shift possible.

• Banish the 9 to 5: For many parents, a 9 to 5 schedule doesn’t match that of their child. To get the most of flexible working, see if you can adapt your schedule with a late start and late finish, or early start and early finish. Or, throw the schedule out the window and focus on delivering results.

• Flex your flexible working: If you can’t make the switch to full-time flexible working, see if you can have this option available in emergencies, such as a gap in childcare or a tight schedule.

“Parents especially struggle to ensure their careers and personal lives exist in harmony,” says Michael Berretta, vice president of Network Development for IWG, the parent company of Regus. “Using flexible workspace can allow for a schedule that better fits around personal commitments, and employers can expect more working parents to ask for this option.”

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Working parents have a lot to juggle and finding the right balance can be a challenge, but there are more opportunities than ever to add flexibility to their schedules.

In a Nutshell: 5 tips to shed pounds

Maybe you want more energy, or perhaps you want to lose weight and keep it off for good. Whatever your goals, a new year means a fresh start to become the best version of yourself.

Here are five tips from Nutrisystem experts to get your scale moving in the right direction and support your long-term health.

1. Skip “Diet” Drinks

Of course, you know not to order the regular cola with your meal, but you figure the lower-calorie diet version is an okay choice. Not necessarily. One recent review of research found that artificial sweeteners often used in diet drinks may not be as beneficial for weight management as intended, and that drinking them regularly may be linked to an increased body mass index. If you want something fizzy, opt for seltzer with lemon or lime. But if you can’t stop dreaming of that diet soda, it doesn’t have to be completely off-limits. Just try to cut back. Moderation is key!

2. Drink More Water                                 

Every part of your body needs water to work properly. When you don’t get enough, your body can’t perform normal functions, which can drain your energy. More fatigue means less physical activity. Plus, mild dehydration is often masked as hunger — prompting you to grab a snack when all you really need is water. Nutrisystem experts recommend drinking at least eight, 8-ounce glasses daily.

3. Slow Down                                                        

It takes 20 minutes for the “I’m full” signals from your stomach to reach your brain. When you inhale your food, it’s much easier to eat more than your body really needs. One review of 23 studies found that fast eaters were about twice as likely to be obese, compared to slow eaters. To help slow down, take smaller bites, chew 10 to 15 times and put your fork down between each bite.

4. Don’t Eyeball Portions               

“The super-sized meals at restaurants have given us a skewed view of proper portion size,” says registered dietitian for Nutrisystem, Courtney McCormick.

“The super-sized meals at restaurants have given us a skewed view of proper portion size,” says registered dietitian for Nutrisystem, Courtney McCormick.

Even if you’re tracking your food intake with an app or food journal, overestimating portions can sabotage progress.

McCormick’s solution: Measure portions — not forever, but for a while at the start. Doing so will help you get a visual of what portions should actually look like. You may also consider eliminating some of the guesswork with a program, such as Nutrisystem, that offers pre-portioned, nutritionally-balanced meals.

5. Reduce Stress                                      

Stress can cause your body to burn calories more slowly, which could lead to weight gain, according to a study. Plus, stress increases hormones that stimulate appetite, and the foods you’ll crave for comfort tend to be high in fat and sugar. Help manage stress with deep breathing, meditation, exercise, hanging out with friends or listening to music.

More tips on jump-starting your weight loss goals can be found at

With these tips for the new year, you’ll be on the road to realistic weight loss achievement and have more energy for your day-to-day life.

In a Nutshell: Saving faster with online banks

While there’s no doubt that putting money aside with each paycheck is an essential component to a healthy financial future, it’s important to keep in mind that not all savings accounts are going to give you the same pay back or benefits.

It’s estimated that American consumers are missing out on over $50 billion dollars of interest they could be earning every year. The average interest rate on savings accounts is 0.08 percent, according to the FDIC, with many of the largest financial institutions paying as little as 0.01 percent.

But did you know that the top online banks have interest rates 20 times higher than the national average, according to rates published by the FDIC? Because they have no physical branches, they are often able to pass on that savings to customers through consistently competitive rates.

“A traditional bank savings account is certainly a safe vessel in which to deposit money, but it won’t necessarily help that money grow,” says Diane Morais, president, Consumer & Commercial Banking Products for Ally Bank, Member FDIC, which won the title of Best Online Bank in the GOBankingRates Best Banks ranking from 2015-2018.

What’s more, online banks can offer greater convenience and flexibility, since consumers can bank from anywhere on computers and mobile devices, and there’s no waiting in line or waiting for the bank to open. The most common services and transactions (i.e. monthly account maintenance fees, standard or expedited ACH transfers, domestic and international incoming wires, cashier’s checks and personal checks) are free at many online banks. And most online banks are FDIC insured, so a customer’s deposits are equally as protected as they would be at a traditional bank.

To increase your savings, Morais recommends the following:

• Pay yourself first. When you save, you are paying yourself, so be sure your monthly budget includes a line item for savings. You can make it easier to commit to this great habit by setting up automatic transfers to your savings account.

• Do a little research. Find a bank that will pay you a more competitive interest rate on your savings. You may have to do a bit of comparison shopping, but the extra money coming your way will make the effort worthwhile. According to the FDIC, the median balance in U.S. savings accounts is around $5,000. At 0.01 percent interest, that equals 50 cents in interest for the year, however if that money was in a savings account at one of the top online banks, it would earn almost $90 of interest.

To learn more about saving with an online bank, visit

It is estimated that consumers have about $3 trillion in bank accounts earning a relatively low interest rate. If a portion of that figure belongs to you, consider making your money work harder by moving it to an account with greater interest earning potential.

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