FastCompany Magazine

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The days of control and conformity are over, and it’s within our power to bring today’s workplace up to speed. All it takes is some guts.
A young man dives from a 30-foot cliff over a waterfall inside Casa Bonita, a Mexican-themed “entertainment” restaurant in Denver, Colo. That’s his job; he dives again and again for the enjoyment of dining patrons. Between dives he admits, “I have yet to have a day where I don’t want to go to work.”
Most people aren’t that lucky or brave. We don’t often get to practice our craft again and again, let alone get cheered on to dive in or climb back up. Doing it every day doesn’t mean it doesn’t require courage, that it’s not hard, or that there aren’t risks; there are just more reasons to keep doing it in spite of the what-ifs.
Leadership, in large part, requires jumping in head first, lapping back and forth, occasionally leading a pack, but often leaping alone, usually in a race against the next guy. But for all the talk of collaboration and big ideas, new business practices, and social reach, most work hasn’t changed much.
Fundamental people practices in modern companies were forged in an era when control and conformity were thought useful. Today, we know they stifle creativity and customer focus at a time when companies fail on less.
As we seek options for ourselves, we don’t always think to remind people there are collective options to elevate us as a species. As Diana Korte, a women’s health advocate, once wrote, “If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any.”
Our digital world accelerates change and gives us an opportunity to be more of who we are. With almost unlimited access to information, we also have a greater understanding that the world needs our help. We expect twists and turns in our journey, but where we are today shouldn’t suck.
It’s time for work to change. Here are four ways leaders can push work forward.
Read More>

The days of control and conformity are over, and it’s within our power to bring today’s workplace up to speed. All it takes is some guts.

A young man dives from a 30-foot cliff over a waterfall inside Casa Bonita, a Mexican-themed “entertainment” restaurant in Denver, Colo. That’s his job; he dives again and again for the enjoyment of dining patrons. Between dives he admits, “I have yet to have a day where I don’t want to go to work.”

Most people aren’t that lucky or brave. We don’t often get to practice our craft again and again, let alone get cheered on to dive in or climb back up. Doing it every day doesn’t mean it doesn’t require courage, that it’s not hard, or that there aren’t risks; there are just more reasons to keep doing it in spite of the what-ifs.

Leadership, in large part, requires jumping in head first, lapping back and forth, occasionally leading a pack, but often leaping alone, usually in a race against the next guy. But for all the talk of collaboration and big ideas, new business practices, and social reach, most work hasn’t changed much.

Fundamental people practices in modern companies were forged in an era when control and conformity were thought useful. Today, we know they stifle creativity and customer focus at a time when companies fail on less.

As we seek options for ourselves, we don’t always think to remind people there are collective options to elevate us as a species. As Diana Korte, a women’s health advocate, once wrote, “If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any.”

Our digital world accelerates change and gives us an opportunity to be more of who we are. With almost unlimited access to information, we also have a greater understanding that the world needs our help. We expect twists and turns in our journey, but where we are today shouldn’t suck.

It’s time for work to change. Here are four ways leaders can push work forward.

Read More>

Sure, free food isn’t as valuable as health insurance but what and how your company uses perks can still make a big difference.
While the components of a great job—support, challenge, autonomy—are hard to quantify, everyone understands free snacks in the pantry.
So perks become proxies for other upsides. They also tap into the psychology of gifts. While it seems crazy that doctors would be influenced to write prescriptions by free pens, they were (before an industry code ended the practice).
Likewise, freebies at work are loved beyond their actual dollar value. They invite reciprocity. Or, to put a more positive spin on it, “Maybe it’s just recognition,” says Danielle Saladino-Evans, who works in corporate communications at Fingerpaint, a marketing and communications firm, and is part of the committee that decides her company’s perks. “You’re working hard today. Go have something on us.”
If you’re figuring out what perks to offer, here’s how to get the most bang for your buck.
Read More>

Sure, free food isn’t as valuable as health insurance but what and how your company uses perks can still make a big difference.

While the components of a great job—support, challenge, autonomy—are hard to quantify, everyone understands free snacks in the pantry.

So perks become proxies for other upsides. They also tap into the psychology of gifts. While it seems crazy that doctors would be influenced to write prescriptions by free pens, they were (before an industry code ended the practice).

Likewise, freebies at work are loved beyond their actual dollar value. They invite reciprocity. Or, to put a more positive spin on it, “Maybe it’s just recognition,” says Danielle Saladino-Evans, who works in corporate communications at Fingerpaint, a marketing and communications firm, and is part of the committee that decides her company’s perks. “You’re working hard today. Go have something on us.”

If you’re figuring out what perks to offer, here’s how to get the most bang for your buck.

Read More>

In 2012 the Pebble smartwatch became the most backed product in Kickstarter history, gaining $10.3 million during its fundraising period.
That record stood until yesterday, when another product smashed Pebble’s pledges—earning an astonishing $11,045,769 (and counting) for a Kickstarter project that still has around 24 hours on the clock.
The project? The Coolest Cooler: a $299 USB-enabled, Buetooth speaker-pumping, illuminated, partitioned, accessory-holding cooler featuring an onboard blender. It is, to put it simply, the most incredible story in crowdfunding history—and made all the more amazing by the fact that Portland-based creator Ryan Grepper only set out to raise $50,000.
So how did a glorified drinks holder become a Kickstarter record breaker?
Read More>

In 2012 the Pebble smartwatch became the most backed product in Kickstarter history, gaining $10.3 million during its fundraising period.

That record stood until yesterday, when another product smashed Pebble’s pledges—earning an astonishing $11,045,769 (and counting) for a Kickstarter project that still has around 24 hours on the clock.

The project? The Coolest Cooler: a $299 USB-enabled, Buetooth speaker-pumping, illuminated, partitioned, accessory-holding cooler featuring an onboard blender. It is, to put it simply, the most incredible story in crowdfunding history—and made all the more amazing by the fact that Portland-based creator Ryan Grepper only set out to raise $50,000.

So how did a glorified drinks holder become a Kickstarter record breaker?

Read More>

Imagine it being impossible to check email at the beach and coming back from holiday to a clean inbox. At Daimler’s headquarters in Germany, it’s now office policy.
Read More>

Imagine it being impossible to check email at the beach and coming back from holiday to a clean inbox. At Daimler’s headquarters in Germany, it’s now office policy.

Read More>

The moments in the careers of women at Airbnb, Pinterest, Facebook, and more that changed everything.
What we see of others’ lives are highlight reels.
From a distance, the road to working for a headline-making tech company looks smooth and simple: Start at the bottom, work hard, make the right connections and boom, you’ve made it.
But for these six women, working for companies that impact our daily lives means making more than a decent salary and having fun doing it. There were moments in each of their lives that changed everything. We asked when they knew they wanted to get into tech—and when that career choice clicked for them.
Read More>

The moments in the careers of women at Airbnb, Pinterest, Facebook, and more that changed everything.

What we see of others’ lives are highlight reels.

From a distance, the road to working for a headline-making tech company looks smooth and simple: Start at the bottom, work hard, make the right connections and boom, you’ve made it.

But for these six women, working for companies that impact our daily lives means making more than a decent salary and having fun doing it. There were moments in each of their lives that changed everything. We asked when they knew they wanted to get into tech—and when that career choice clicked for them.

Read More>

Clearing your mind and living in the moment isn’t about putting productivity on hold. You can be more profitable with less brain clutter.
If you are like me, you probably find yourself multitasking more, yet feeling like it really isn’t benefiting you. As a society, we’re stressing out about more and accomplishing less, adversely impacting both our mindsets and our productivity.
Most of us think of this as the new normal, and we’ve gotten used to juggling more. The begrudging acceptance of this attitude prevents companies from taking actions needed to keep workers focused and productive.
A stretched-thin, stressed-out workplace is not the workplace of the future. It falls on business managers to change this culture and promote focus and compassion—a concept making the rounds in workplace circles known as “mindfulness.” This is the technique of tuning out the noise and focusing deliberately on what is important.
Studies have found that mindfulness at work can increase engagement, productivity, innovation, and measurable business results. Here are three tips to increasing your mindfulness so that you cross tasks off your list and stress about them less.
Read More>

Clearing your mind and living in the moment isn’t about putting productivity on hold. You can be more profitable with less brain clutter.

If you are like me, you probably find yourself multitasking more, yet feeling like it really isn’t benefiting you. As a society, we’re stressing out about more and accomplishing less, adversely impacting both our mindsets and our productivity.

Most of us think of this as the new normal, and we’ve gotten used to juggling more. The begrudging acceptance of this attitude prevents companies from taking actions needed to keep workers focused and productive.

A stretched-thin, stressed-out workplace is not the workplace of the future. It falls on business managers to change this culture and promote focus and compassion—a concept making the rounds in workplace circles known as “mindfulness.” This is the technique of tuning out the noise and focusing deliberately on what is important.

Studies have found that mindfulness at work can increase engagement, productivity, innovation, and measurable business results. Here are three tips to increasing your mindfulness so that you cross tasks off your list and stress about them less.

Read More>

The answer to getting more done and leading a balanced life isn’t in beating yourself up about ambitions.
We’ve entered a new paradigm. One in which women, particularly in the West, have greater opportunity than ever before and yet are feeling stressed out, anxious, and exhausted trying to cope with the pressure to succeed in all areas of life. Despite external success, many women have a feeling of not measuring up or being good enough. Other women are leaning in so strongly that they are burning out. It’s a catch-22: how do we lean in without burning out?
Research shows bright girls are particularly likely to see their abilities as innate and unchangeable, and they grow up to be women who are far too hard on themselves—women who will prematurely conclude that they don’t have what it takes to succeed in a particular arena and give up way too soon.
Our experience is that women blame themselves. Therefore, many women are reading Lean In and thinking “Oh, I guess I wasn’t leaning in hard enough, I need to push myself even more.”
Here are the tenets for how to lean in without burning out:
Read More>

The answer to getting more done and leading a balanced life isn’t in beating yourself up about ambitions.

We’ve entered a new paradigm. One in which women, particularly in the West, have greater opportunity than ever before and yet are feeling stressed out, anxious, and exhausted trying to cope with the pressure to succeed in all areas of life. Despite external success, many women have a feeling of not measuring up or being good enough. Other women are leaning in so strongly that they are burning out. It’s a catch-22: how do we lean in without burning out?

Research shows bright girls are particularly likely to see their abilities as innate and unchangeable, and they grow up to be women who are far too hard on themselves—women who will prematurely conclude that they don’t have what it takes to succeed in a particular arena and give up way too soon.

Our experience is that women blame themselves. Therefore, many women are reading Lean In and thinking “Oh, I guess I wasn’t leaning in hard enough, I need to push myself even more.”

Here are the tenets for how to lean in without burning out:

Read More>

For all our talk about flex time and the freedom (and insanity) the Internet gives us to work at any time of the day, the traditional 9 to 5 workday, with a break at noon, is still going pretty strong.
Read More>

For all our talk about flex time and the freedom (and insanity) the Internet gives us to work at any time of the day, the traditional 9 to 5 workday, with a break at noon, is still going pretty strong.

Read More>