TIME Autos

Car Crash Test Dummies Are Getting Fatter Because We Are Too

Ford Demonstrates Its Latest Crash Test Technology
A Ford crash test dummy is shown at the Crash Barrier Dearborn Development Center March 10, 2014 in Dearborn, Michigan. Bill Pugliano—Getty Images

A dummy maker is building an obese model to reflect the weight Americans are putting on

Like the God of Genesis, auto crash testers fashion dummies in their own image. Crash test dummies have four limbs and a head so that when they’re strapped into a doomed car, the collision shows what a real human ramming a vehicle into a solid wall looks like.

The problem is, our image has changed, and the svelte dummy of yesteryear is a hopeful mirage at best.

So instead, we need obese dummies. That’s because more than 0ne-third of Americans are obese, and obese drivers are more likely to die in a car crash. Humanetics, a company that makes crash test dummies, is making their dummies bigger, with one version that weighs 270 lbs and has a BMI of 35, NPR reports. The increase in size allows the company to measure belt and airbag loads during crashes.

“Obese occupants are up to 78 percent more likely to die in a car crash than an average weight driver,” Humanetics President and CEO Christopher O’Connor told trade publication Crash Test Technology International. “Having a body mass index of 35-39.9 percent increases your risk of death by 51 percent.”

TIME Companies

You Can Be Fired in 29 States For Doing What Tim Cook Did Today

Congressional inaction has resulted in a patchwork of state legislation that’s left big gaps across the country where being LGBT can be cause for termination

On Thursday, Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook confirmed what had long been believed: he is a gay man.

In coming out in Bloomberg Businessweek, Cook wrote, “Of course, I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences. Not everyone is so lucky.”

That last statement is accurate, not just because of the prejudice that gay individuals face in their personal lives, but because of the lack of protections against the discrimination of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the workplace.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, in 29 states workers can still be fired for saying exactly what Cook wrote Thursday. They include:

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
Florida
Georgia
Idaho
Indiana
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Michigan
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Virginia
West Virginia
Wyoming

Congress has failed to pass federal legislation that bans discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and transgender identity outright. But politicians in Washington have introduced legislation known as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act for two decades. And, for two decades, it has failed to pass.

Congressional inaction has resulted in a patchwork of state legislation that’s left big gaps across the country where being LGBT can be cause for termination.

“When I talk about hot topics, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is front and center. The President and The White House are making incremental steps to move us in that direction because there is no federal protection,” says Selisse Berry, founder and chief executive officer of nonprofit advocacy organization Out & Equal.

In June, President Obama signed an executive order banning workplace discrimination based on employees’ sexual orientation and gender identity among federal contractors. In September, the EEOC filed its first lawsuits on behalf of transgender employees under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The business community in the U.S. is also doing its part to combat LBGT discrimination. Company by company, businesses have put sexual orientation and gender identify protections into their codes of conduct. “That way, people can come out at work and not be worried about being fired,” Berry says.

“Ninety-one percent of Fortune 500 companies include sex orientation protections. Seventeen years ago, it was 5%. People weren’t really talking it,” she says. Today, 61% of Fortune 500 companies include protection against gender identity bias.

The situation overseas, however, is significantly different. “There are 17 countries where [LGBT people] can be married,” Berry notes, “but 75 where we can be imprisoned or killed as LGBT people.”

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Companies

Biz, LGBT Leaders Congratulate Apple CEO Tim Cook On Coming Out As Gay

Here’s what rights groups and other powerful people had to say about the Apple CEO’s announcement

Earlier today, Apple CEO Tim Cook published an essay in Bloomberg BusinessWeek publicly acknowledging for the first time that he’s gay. In so doing, he not only confirmed something that had been long assumed, he also became the only openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Naturally, the essay brought out a number of reactions from people in the business world, the media and politics, plus more than a few activist groups. Here are some of the major responses.

Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella, via Twitter:

The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce:

The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the business voice of the LGBT community, commends Tim Cook for his moving and heartfelt coming out essay. While his story and success are unique, we are proud to say we hear about similar journeys every day from the LGBT Americans, including those who are part of NGLCC. Our goal is to expand economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people. Tim’s words today will help us in that mission. They also serve as an opening of the door for other LGBT CEOs and senior executives to move forward in knowing there is a safe place for them in the business world.

StartOut, a group supporting LGBT entrepreneurs, CEO Gene Falk:

While there have been substantial gains for the community in representation and visibility in politics, entertainment, journalism and now even sports, in too many places the corporate closet continues to flourish, and there are virtually no role models in the senior ranks of the business community. Today that changed. Tim’s leadership of Apple has not been, and will not be, defined by his being out. It will only be enhanced because now he’s empowered to lead without hiding.

Anthony Watson, CIO of Nike and GLAAD Board of Directors, via Twitter:

Phillip Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide at Apple, via Twitter:

Jason Collins, first openly gay active NBA player, via Twitter:

Barney Frank, the first Congressman to voluntarily come out as gay, speaking on CNBC:

“When the man who has been the leader for several years with great success of one of the most important … businesses in America, says, ‘Oh by the way, you know those people about whom you have these negative feelings, well I’m one of them.’ That does such an enormous amount to diminish the negative feelings. I am very grateful for him doing it.”

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin:

Tim Cook’s announcement today will save countless lives. He has always been a role model, but today millions across the globe will draw inspiration from a different aspect of his life. Tim Cook is proof that LGBT young people can dream as big as their minds will allow them to, whether they want to be doctors, a U.S. Senator, or even CEO of the world’s biggest brand.

Arthur D. Levinson, chairman of Apple’s Board:

Tim has our wholehearted support and admiration in making this courageous personal statement. His decision to speak out will help advance the cause of equality and inclusion far beyond the business world. On behalf of the board and our entire company, we are incredibly proud to have Tim leading Apple.

John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, via Twitter:

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Companies

6 Things to Know About Apple CEO Tim Cook

After he came out as gay Wednesday morning

When Tim Cook took the helm at Apple in 2011, many saw the Alabama native and former company chief operating officer as a somewhat boring Steve Jobs stand-in. Wall Street worried whether Apple could continue its remarkable growth under a new boss, while Apple fans wondered if they could expect the same astronomical advancements in consumer technology they’d grown to love.

In the intervening three years, Cook has impressed doubters with new products like the Apple Watch and the iPad Air, and wowed shareholders as Apple’s stock price continues to rise (a six-month hiccup in 2012-2013 aside).

We’ve learned things about Cook’s personality and life, too. He’s not the terrifying, volatile firecracker that Jobs was. But the instinctively private Cook has gradually revealed a more personal side as he’s accrued successes. Cook’s most personal revelation came Wednesday, with his formal acknowledgment that he is gay, an oft-rumored fact that the Apple chief had never publicly confirmed.

In the spirit of getting familiar with the CEO of one of the world’s most iconic companies, here are 6 things to know about Tim Cook:

He’s a working-class kid from the Deep South

Cook grew up in southern Alabama near the Gulf Coast, and worked at a paper mill in the state and an aluminum plant in Virginia. His father was a shipyard worker. Cook earned his degree in industrial engineering from Auburn University in his native Alabama.

He wakes up at 3:45 every morning

By all accounts, Cook is a dogged worker. He told TIME in 2012 that he wakes up every morning before 4 a.m., spends an hour on email, then goes to the gym, then Starbucks, then heads to work.

He’s a keen manager

Cook got his start managing Apple’s complex supply chains, closing warehouses and instead employing contract manufacturers. He pushed hard for stable supplies of product parts. “You kind of want to manage it like you’re in the dairy business,” he has said. “If it gets past its freshness date, you have a problem.” Cook is also able to coordinate fluidly with Apple’s different departments. After Jobs’ death, he broke down structural walls between design and software engineering segments, Bloomberg Businessweek reported last month.

He’s outdoorsy

Though Cook doesn’t often chatter about his hobbies (“I’ve tried to maintain a basic level of privacy,” he says), Cook enjoys hiking and cycling. He included a shot of Yosemite National Park on his Twitter page, and he’s reportedly an avid cycler as well as a self-admitted “fitness nut” — a reason, perhaps, that Apple’s upcoming Apple Watch is being marketed towards the fitness-obsessed.

His sexuality hasn’t gotten in the way at Apple

Being gay has never been a problem for Cook at Apple, he said in his column for Businessweek. “Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I’m gay, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference in the way they treat me,” said Cook. “Of course, I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences.”

He’s a listener

Unlike his predecessor, Cook’s managerial style is markedly collaborative. When a group of investors visited Apple’s campus in 2012, Cook did what would have been unlikely for Jobs: he showed up, listened to his CFO’s presentation, and answered questions. Cook has showed that for the first time in years, not only Apple employees have the CEO’s ear, but investors do, too.

TIME Tech

Why Tim Cook’s Coming Out Is the Most Meaningful to Date

His essay didn't minimize the importance of his sexuality. Instead, he acknowledged how being gay has changed his life and worldview

Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, has spoken publicly about his sexuality in a Bloomberg Businessweek op-ed, writing: “I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.” It’s the most forceful declaration of self we’ve seen by a gay person in recent memory — one that presents being gay as something legitimately different from being straight, and no worse for that. It’s an inspiring new way to come out.

To be fair, Cook’s sexuality has been such an open secret that it’s legitimate to question if this is even a coming-out. The hard lines around “coming out” — traditionally the process by which someone tells the world for the first time that one is gay — have been eroded by the openness of the press and the relaxing of stigmas around homosexuality have made it far less taboo to write about a person’s sexuality before their explicit say-so. This is the first time Cook has spoken so openly about being gay; that has hardly stopped the press from, without evident malice or homophobia, including him on an Out power list of gay celebrities, or, at the time of his appointment as Steve Jobs’s replacement, calling him “the most powerful gay man in America.” Though the mainstream press has been more reticent, with a New York Times article this May asking where the openly gay CEOs were, some segments of the press covered Cook’s sexuality as they would his race or gender, as an unremarkable fact about him.

Other coming-outs, like that of Anderson Cooper in 2012, have followed a similar script: That the public figure’s sexuality is unremarkable, neither here nor there, worthy of acknowledgment solely as a biographical detail. Cooper, a CNN anchor, wrote in a public letter to the blogger Andrew Sullivan: “In a perfect world, I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business, but I do think there is value in standing up and being counted.” In his declaration of his sexuality, there was a strong undertone of reluctance: This shouldn’t be necessary, as it had little to do with Cooper’s identity. Even in coming out, Cooper spent far more time describing his life as a journalist, which he insisted was not colored by his life experiences, than he did acknowledging his sexuality. So, too, did Neil Patrick Harris, in 2006, express his annoyance at the “speculation and interest in my private life and relationships” even while finally discussing them with the press. In her 2013 speech at the Golden Globes, Jodie Foster acknowledged her former partner while framing any and all inquiries into her private life as forcing her into the position of “Honey Boo Boo Child,” a reality show entertainer.

Tim Cook has set a new paradigm, describing his sexuality as not merely a small aspect of himself that he needs to get through talking about, but as central to his identity. “Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day,” writes Cook. “It’s made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life.”

Some will likely grouse that Cook’s silence for so long dulls the impact of his coming out now, at age 53. And his own essay presents the same privacy arguments we’ve heard before, before explaining that this was, indeed, a difficult choice. Past celebrity coming-out declarations have had a certain breeziness to them, as though the stars decided they might as well finally entertain the press’s endless inquiries. Cook’s desire not to acknowledge his sexuality, he writes, stemmed from his fear that it would overtake all other aspects of his persona in the public eye. “I’m an engineer, an uncle, a nature lover, a fitness nut, a son of the South, a sports fanatic, and many other things.”

But it’s a sign of how much society has changed even since 2012 that Cook is finally able to present the somewhat revolutionary idea that being gay is not just the same as being straight — that it is not a simple aspect of one’s makeup. It changes the way one views the world, as Cook writes. It also compels one forward to take part in a cause larger than oneself. As Cook writes, citing the civil-rights legacies of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy: “We pave the sunlit path toward justice together, brick by brick. This is my brick.”

TIME marketing

Lysol Scrubs Ebola-Prevention Claims From Its Website

Ebola Virus
A colorized transmission electron micrograph of the Ebola virus is seen in this CDC handout. Center for Disease Control — Getty Images

After Lysol ads appeared in Google searches for 'Ebola'

A banner image of the Ebola virus spans the homepage of Lysol.com, but the company has tempered its language and shied away from claims that its disinfectants can prevent the spread of the Ebola virus.

The cleaning product company positioned a Lysol advertisement in prime real estate above Google search results for “Ebola,” Vice Motherboard first reported on Tuesday. But as media scrutiny intensified, the ad vanished and Lysol scrubbed away some of the bolder claims from its website to “ensure there is no confusion about the role of Lysol and Ebola,” a company representative told CNN.

The headline on Lysol’s homepage, which once read, “Safeguarding Against the Spread of Ebola,” now directs readers to “Find information from the CDC.” A link to the company’s “Ebola Update” page offers Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines that sidle up to the question of which disinfectants “are likely to kill Ebola,” while cautioning that none of Lysol’s products have been specifically tested against the virus.

A company spokesperson told CNN the intent of the update was to direct customers to information from the CDC. “We are not trying to over-claim anything,” the spokesperson said.

TIME Advertising

These Are the 6 Curse Words You Can Say in British Advertising

BRITAIN-IRAQ-SYRIA-CONFLICT-STRIKES-PARLIAMENT
The Union flag is seen flapping in the wind in front of one of the faces of the Great Clock atop the landmark Elizabeth Tower that houses Big Ben at the Houses of Parliament. Justin Tallis—AFP/Getty Images

And how they compare to U.S. rules

A United Kingdom advertising authority recently gave the country’s businesses a refresher on which words are kosher to use in advertisements.

The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) updated its guidelines this month on offensive language in non-broadcast ads, but the CAP emphasizes that its recommendation on language “does not constitute legal advice.”

Here’s what’s been given the OK in the U.K.:

  • “Bloody,” “shag,” “slag,” “piss,” “pee,” and “balls” are acceptable when targeted appropriately
  • Subtle word play like “Give a fork about your pork”

Here’s what hasn’t:

  • “Fu—k” and “cu—t” should generally not be used in marketing communications as they are very likely to offend
  • Double entendres suggesting offensive concepts are unacceptable, and banned examples include “Poker in the front . . . Liquor in the rear” and “The Sofa King — Where the Prices are Sofa King Low!”

The only set-in-stone rule is that “advertisements should contain nothing that is likely to cause serious or widespread offense,” and that compliance with the code is judged on context, according to the U.K. Advertising Standards Authority, which administers CAP’s guidelines. As a result, ads banned for offensive content are mostly done so after they’ve aired.

Stateside, it’s a similar story but without specific recommendations. Broadcast advertisements are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which bars obscene, indecent and profane content. Profanity is defined as “language so grossly offensive to members of the public who actually hear it as to amount to a nuisance,” according to the FCC’s guidelines. Like in the U.K., the FCC welcomes public complaints, but offensive ads are removed only after complaints.

That doesn’t meant that U.S. advertisers aren’t allowed to flirt with language that may be somewhat profane, though. Advertisers are now using more daring language as a means to attract younger audiences, according to the New York Times. Here are two ads that just made the cut:

Fun stuff!

TIME FindTheBest

16 Retailers Apple Must Land for Apple Pay to Succeed

The mobile payment battleground is currently in chaos, with customer loyalty programs, retailer apps and Apple Pay each marshaling troops, attacking supply lines and forming shaky—sometimes short-sighted—alliances.

Just weeks after launch, consumers seem to like the Apple Pay experience best, with its one-tap simplicity and strong privacy features. Unfortunately, three hurdles stand in Apple Pay’s way.

Technology

Apple Pay requires NFC (near-field communication) to work, and some retailers don’t have the technology built in. This is the least of Apple’s worries, however, as stricter credit fraud laws will compel most big stores to add NFC by October 2015.

Customer Loyalty Programs

Apple Pay keeps payments anonymous—so anonymous that retailers will lose some valuable information about shoppers: what they’re buying, what they’re returning, what they might be interested in next. It’s why customers who are paranoid about privacy love Apple Pay, but data-driven retail marketers can’t stand it. Even Apple-friendly brands like Starbucks have been hesitant to fully implement Apple Pay for this very reason. The Starbucks iOS app lets the coffee shop understand individual customers and offer them relevant promotions. A full-fledged Apple Pay solution would cut out the flow of customer data.

CurrentC

The biggest Apple Pay antagonist, CurrentC is a mobile payment system supported by dozens of America’s biggest retailers (including three of biggest: Walmart, ExxonMobil and CVS). CurrentC is nirvana for retailers. The app connects directly to shoppers’ bank accounts, cutting out those 2-3% per transaction fees from the likes of VISA and Mastercard. It can also offer promotions and customer loyalty rewards, a crucial part of most big retailers’ customer retention strategies.

Unfortunately, CurrentC is also clunky to use. For a given purchase, customers must take out their phones, unlock them, open the CurrentC app, open their cameras, then point their phones at one of those blocky QR codes, which validates the transaction. You can debate whether swiping a credit card or using Apple Pay is faster, but as it stands, CurrentC is easily the slowest, most awkward method.

If CurrentC maker MCX can overhaul the app’s user experience, the payment system has a great chance to be successful. After all, it’s already got a lot of big players backing it. But if it remains in its current state, it’s hard to imagine consumers getting on board.

So what would it take for consumers’ most popular method—Apple Pay—to truly become the payment system of the future? At FindTheBest, we took a close look at America’s top 100 retailers by sales volume to see who’s out, who’s in, and who Apple has a shot of winning over.

Today, we’re focusing on the big brands: the majors and generals, not the captains and lieutenants. With apologies to smaller companies like Petco and Panera Bread, here were the brands we picked from (sales estimates from FindTheBest’s Companies topic):

We’ll start by reviewing Apple’s key partners and biggest opponents, then count down the fence-sitters. Again, this isn’t a comprehensive list—just the biggest brands.

The Apple Core

  • Chevron
  • Walgreens
  • McDonald’s
  • Macy’s
  • Staples
  • Disney
  • Whole Foods
  • Toys R Us

Apple has at least some representation among four critical industries: gas, drug stores, fast food and clothing. The weak point here is grocery stores. Whole Foods is a decent start, but Kroger, Safeway and Publix are all either ambivalent or anti-Apple Pay, which could spell big trouble for the service.

The Lost Causes

  • Walmart
  • CVS
  • Best Buy
  • Rite Aid

The biggest CurrentC advocates of all, these companies have actively disabled Apple Pay. Having bet heavily on MCX’s mobile payment solution, they’ll likely make big sales sacrifices before caving to the iPhone and Touch ID.

From here, however, we move into the “remotely possible” categories. We’ll start with least likely.

The Longshots

  1. ExxonMobil
  2. Lowe’s
  3. Sears
  4. Publix
  5. Kohl’s
  6. The Gap Inc.

All six of these players are CurrentC supporters, but they’ve been less vocal in their distaste for Apple Pay. Unfortunately, several are likely tied up in CurrentC exclusivity contracts, which would mean that they can’t legally implement Apple Pay as long as they want to support the CurrentC app. Still, if Apple Pay were to really take off, you might expect a few of these to betray the CurrentC faithful and start accepting payments through Apple.

The Potentials

  1. Costco
  2. Kroger
  3. Home Depot
  4. Safeway
  5. JC Penney
  6. Nordstrom

None of these businesses have been particularly receptive toward Apple Pay, but they’re not aligned with CurrentC either, which means that either faction could win them over. Both Home Depot and Nordstrom seem like natural fits. The former would love to build back customer trust after its recent, infamous credit card breach—and security is one of Apple Pay’s best features. Meanwhile, the latter matches Apple’s customer base well: an upper-middle class, “affordable luxury” brand.

The Fickle Friends

  1. Starbucks
  2. Target

Both retailers have half-heartedly embraced Apple Pay, with mobile apps that will integrate with the new Touch ID-authenticated feature. But neither features the simple, one-tap-to-pay experience, which will likely be critical for Apple Pay adoption. Starbucks would still need to add the NFC technology across its 20,000 stores, and a true Apple Pay solution might cannibalize its popular (and successful) iOS app. Apple may need to prove it can win over friends before it starts flipping enemies.

The Nice-to-Haves

  1. Pizza Hut
  2. Taco Bell

They’re not as big as the above retailers, but they could each help sell Apple Pay through brand association. Taken together, these companies could win Apple more users in a crucial young demographic, the sort of customers that could create a long-term foundation for the new mobile payment service.

- – -

Apple has the technology and user experience nailed. Now it’s time to win over these 16 brands. If the company chips away at the CurrentC stronghold, even one retailer at a time, it’ll be in a much better position to win not only the current battle, but the larger mobile payment war.

This article was written for TIME by Ben Taylor of FindTheBest.

More from FindTheBest

TIME Economy

The U.S. Economy Grew Faster Than Expected Over the Summer

Rosa Pantoja sews a bullet proof vest together in the Research and Development department of the Point Blank Body Armor factory in Pompano Beach, Fla., Sept. 19, 2014
Rosa Pantoja sews a bullet proof vest together in the Research and Development department of the Point Blank Body Armor factory in Pompano Beach, Fla., Sept. 19, 2014 J Pat Carter—AP

Even as the global economy faces headwinds

The U.S. posted a better-than-expected jump in growth for the third quarter, the latest indication that the world’s largest economy is performing well even as the global economy faces headwinds.

Real gross domestic product, or the output of goods and services produced by U.S. labor and property, jumped at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.5% in the third quarter. The Commerce Department reported the increase was primarily due to consumer spending, exports, and higher government spending on the federal, state and local levels.

Economists polled by Bloomberg had projected a 3% increase in GDP, which comes after a 4.6% increase in the second quarter that was aided by a rebound in activity after a harsh winter.

“Finally the consensus is coming around that the U.S. has some above-trend growth,” said Bob Baur, chief global economist at Principal Global Investors. Baur estimates that the U.S. economy can reported growth of 3% or more over the next few quarters, driven by stronger consumer spending thanks to low interest rates, falling gas prices and an improving labor market.

The U.S. economy has performed well of late, consistently adding jobs and reporting sturdy sales of both homes and new automobiles. Meanwhile, many are optimistic that lower gas prices at the pump can lead to higher spending from consumers. Consumer confidence readings are at their highest level in seven years, something that will be music to the retail sector’s ears as the nation prepares for the holiday season.

The strong growth picture in the U.S. contrasts with some red flags that have been raised about the global economy. The International Monetary Fund earlier this month cut its outlook for global growth in 2015, citing a deterioration in expectations for the euro area, Brazil, Russia and Jaan. But the IMF raised its growth targets for the U.S. for this year and in 2015.

“Things are pretty good, we might not grow 4% in the fourth quarter and next year, but 3% [growth] is doable, despite global growth fears,” said John Canally, chief economist strategist for LPL Financial.

The Federal Reserve, which this month ended its most recent stimulus program, still struck a somewhat cautious tone about the U.S. economy. The Fed touted solid job gains and a lower unemployment rate, as well as rising household spending and more investment from businesses. But the Fed worries that the housing sector’s recovery remains slow, and inflation continues to run below the Federal Open Market Committee’s longer-term objective.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Careers & Workplace

7 Productivity Hacks You Can’t Afford Not to Know About

desk
Getty Images

Don’t multitask

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.

My field of integrated communications is a service business that by definition must be productive. People’s deadlines must be met with deliverables executed on a critical path, with many layers of dependencies: Clients depend on teams to launch products, time financial news and outmaneuver competitors.

Companies like mine must produce before others can deliver and produce well, staying creative, insightful, accurate and proactive, even under pressure.

It’s a tall order. But over the decades I’ve had insights about what makes a team productive at its core. I’m sharing a few proven productivity hacks here in the hopes they’ll also help you.

Related: 5 Simple Low-Tech Hacks for Boosting Your Productivity

1. Set clear expectations with the company’s culture.

Create a positive work environment that supports professional development. Arm employees with the tools they need to build and expand their expertise and create productive workspaces accommodating different work styles.

Encourage people to step up and take chances. Make it clear how success will be measured. My first productivity hack begins at the ground floor, in building a culture that is all about setting goals and getting the right things done.

2. Apply design thinking.

Productivity doesn’t simply happen. It comes from a constant focus on building it into processes and work flows as the organization evolves. Look at end results (measurable goals, timelines, success metrics) and set process in place even before pressing the “go” button.

It saps productivity to figure all this all out in real time. Designing it right into work flows from the very start can make the difference between achieving the goal or looking back and trying to figure out what went wrong.

3. Delegate.

The more you hand off to others, the more productive you’ll be. If someone else can do a task, if you can show someone else how to do it or if somebody on your team can show someone else how to do an activity, then don’t do it yourself. Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking you have to do things because nobody else knows how.

If you feel that way, stop before you slide down a nonproductive slippery slope. Step out of your comfort zone and find someone else who’s willing to do the same — and give him or her the job. Let the person know you’re there if needed.

And then be productive on something that’s a step up from what you’ve done before.

Related: The One Question Successful Business Owners Always Ask Themselves

4. Don’t multitask.

People refer to multitasking like it’s a good thing. It’s not. People’s brains aren’t designed to do concurrent things well.

Flitting between tasks means flitting between brain modalities, and there’s always a switching cost as individuals move from one to another.

Schedule your time to minimize distractions or interruptions. Turn off your email. It’s an easy (and easy to rationalize) productivity suck.

Close your computer in meetings unless all you’re (really, truly) doing is taking notes. More and more people’s lives are about interruptions and short bursts of attention. But real productivity comes from doing one thing at a time, doing it well and wrapping it up before moving on to the next thing.

5. Take a break.

The brain can grow weary with too much of the same sort of work; that’s why people sneak off to check email. When you finish something, reward yourself. Take a walk around the block. Check Twitter to see what’s trending. Go get that excellent cup of coffee. Head to the ping-pong table with a teammate and brainstorm while you hit the ball back and forth.

These aren’t wastes of time. They’re ways of refueling and reorganizing for your next deliverable. When you come back, sit down, turn off your email and envision what you need to do between now and the next break. A breath of fresh air may be more than a cliché. Weave one in and see what happens next.

6. Challenge assumptions.

Remote teams and virtual workers are the norm in today’s workplace, as team members often collaborate across different geographies and time zones. “How does that affect productivity?” people ask. My answer: “It’s a boost.”

Multioffice teams can script work flows that put time differences on the company’s side.

When team members on different coasts are working on the same project, processes can begin in New York so handoffs are ready when Silicon Valley turns on the lights.

And New York staffers can count on their West Coast counterparts when they sign off. If productivity is the goal, challenge your staff to design processes to optimize for it. Old ways of doing things, like dinosaurs, sometimes need to evolve.

7. Optimize for meaning.

If you’re not getting a sense of making an impact, a sense of satisfaction, even fun in your work, it’s hard to sustain productivity. Being productive isn’t about working harder and harder in the hope that you’ll eventually get there. It’s about hitting a flow state, mastery or something that brings a sense of a job well done.

If you really want to boost productivity, design your work to let you do things that you genuinely enjoy.

Many of the hacks above flow like a waterfall to this point: Creating a culture, designing work flows, delegating and the other tips all point to processes that help people match themselves to work that matters.

Build your teams with people who care about what they do and create an environment that makes it easier and more efficient for them to get that work done. Then enjoy the results as you watch productivity rise.

Related: 5 Things You Should be Doing to Have an Insanely Productive Week

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