Fast Company Winter 2020/2021

Fast Company is the world’s leading progressive business media brand, with a unique editorial focus on innovation in technology, leadership, world changing ideas, and design. Written for, by, and about the most progressive business leaders, Fast Company inspires readers to think beyond traditional boundaries, lead conversations, and create the future of business.

United States
Mansueto Ventures LLC
6 Issues

in this issue

3 min
from the editor.

Since 2013, Fast Company has dedicated an issue of the magazine to revealing the habits and schedules of some of the world’s most prolific leaders in business and culture. Each year, there always seems to be one executive who answers emails every day at 4 a.m., or an entrepreneur who schedules a standing staff meeting on Sundays. But our Secrets of the Most Productive People feature is decidedly not a workaholic’s handbook. Yes, it’s fascinating to learn how overachievers get it all done. But we also explore how they clear their heads, recharge, and find inspiration—underappreciated elements of productivity that are increasingly important as the COVID-19 pandemic stretches into 2021, and with it, the challenges of working remotely. Unfortunately, many bosses remain focused on textbook definitions of on-the-job effectiveness, measured by…

7 min
the parent trap

Over Labor Day weekend, real estate mogul Rob Speyer got a call from an old friend: Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, the union that represents New York City’s 75,000-plus educators. Mulgrew had a favor to ask. Could Speyer, through his role as president and CEO of Tishman Speyer, help monitor and improve ventilation in some of the city’s public schools, as he had done across his own commercial real estate portfolio? Good ventilation could reduce the spread of COVID-19 in enclosed spaces like classrooms—and lay the foundation for reopening the schools that serve New York City’s 1.1 million students. “Within an hour we had a team mobilized and ready to go,” says Speyer. On a pro bono basis, he started sending Tishman Speyer employees to two of…

1 min
crisis point

Labor Force Pre-pandemic, percentage of labor participation for mothers (2019) Job Growth Change in job growth since June Lost Hours Hours that parents lose each workday due to stress, anxiety, and caregiving Job Flexibility Importance of providing flexibility for caregivers during the pandemic Workers who think their employers are doing a good job Economic Hit Weekly loss in GDP due to decreased productivity among working parents Mass Exit People over the age of 20 who dropped out of the workforce in September 2020 School Reopenings Percentage of districts open for in-person learning, by locale Sources: Clockwise from far left: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; “State of Working Parents Study,” Cleo; “State of Working Parents Study,” Cleo; Center on Reinventing Public Education; U.S. Department of Labor;"How Is the Coronavirus Pandemic Affecting the Workplace?” SAP/AP-NORC Center Poll…

6 min
more than cosmetic

If you had walked by one of Sephora’s nearly 400 U.S. stores in May 2019, you would have seen in the window a large photo of a smiling Black woman accompanied by the slogan: “Color Up Close. Foundation for Everyone, Let’s Find Yours Together.” The displays featured other images of diverse models as well, enticing shoppers of all races into the store. The campaign hit high streets and shopping malls at a crucial time for the mega retailer. That month, singer SZA (aka Solána Imani Rowe) had accused employees at the company’s Calabasas, California, location of racially profiling her. Other customers followed up by sharing stories of discrimination on social media, leading Sephora to close all of its stores for an hour of mandatory racial bias training for its 16,000 employees.…

1 min
tipping points

Rent the Runway One of the largest buyers in the U.S., the clothing-rental company is working to stock more Black-owned brands and designers and, James notes, co-manufacturing with smaller designers that lack the production capacity. West Elm The furniture retailer is planning to bring new companies into its West Elm Local program, which stocks third-party brands. James says the company will also help market some of these Black-owned businesses to its customer base. MedMen With 24 stores across the U.S., the cannabis retailer is now working to grow its inventory of Black-owned brands. “This is an industry that has been particularly exclusionary for Black people,” James says. Icons: Bernar Novalyi (Rent the Runway), ghufronagustian (West Elm), IconMark (MedMen) at the Noun Project…

1 min
skiing on algae

After biotech startup Checkerspot created plastic derived from microalgae, outdoor recreation products seemed like a perfect test for new compounds that replicate the properties of petroleum-based plastics. “We’re leveraging biotechnology to create new building blocks,” says cofounder and CEO (and skier) Charles Dimmler. He launched spinout WNDR Alpine in 2019, which introduced an algae-based, high-performance backcountry ski, the Intention, last winter. The Vital ski, designed for hardpacked snow, followed in July. WNDR’s manufacturing process eliminates 2 pounds of landfill-bound plastic waste per ski.…