Posts tagged with "Fortune Magazine"

Netflix plans to offer video games in push beyond films and TV

July 19, 2021

Netflixmarking its first big move beyond TV shows and films—is planning an expansion into video games and has hired a former Electronic Arts and Facebook executive to lead the effort, Fortune Magazine reports.

Mike Verdu will join Netflix as vice president of Game Development, reporting to COO Greg Peters, the company said on Wednesday, July17. Verdu was previously Facebook’s vice president in charge of working with developers to bring games and other content to Oculus virtual-reality headsets.

In Verdu, the company has an executive who worked on popular mobile games at Electronic Arts, including titles in the Sims, Plants vs. Zombies and Star Wars franchises. He also served as chief creative officer for Zynga between 2009 and 2012.

The idea, according to a source, is to offer video games on Netflix’s streaming platform within the next year, Fortune says. The games will appear alongside current fare as a new programming genre—similar to what Netflix did with documentaries and stand-up specials. The company doesn’t currently plan to charge extra for the content, said the source, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.

Netflix has been seeking ways to keep growing, especially in more saturated markets such as the United States. That’s included building out its kids’ programmingopening an online shop to sell merchandise, and tapping Steven Spielberg to bring more prestigious movies to its lineup.

The company remains well ahead of streaming rivals such as Disney+ or HBO Max, Fortune notes, but it added fewer subscribers than expected in its most recently reported quarter.

Netflix will be building out its gaming team in the coming months, according to the person familiar with the matter. The company has already started advertising for game-development related positions on its website.

Ultimately, the move may make it easier for Netflix to justify price increases in coming years. Games also serve the purpose of helping market existing shows.

Netflix has previously licensed the rights to games based on its shows—including Stranger Thing—but this new initiative is much larger in scope. The Los Gatos, California-based company has yet to settle on a game-development strategy, said the person.

In typical Netflix fashion, the company may start with just a few games and build from there.

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Traveling light: Aussie brand launches ‘lightest’ carry-on suitcase ever in the United States

July 2, 2021

Australian brand July is bringing what it touts as the lightest carry-on suitcase in the world to the United States, just in time for the height of summer travel, Fortune reports.

After closing $8 million in a Series A funding round less than a year after launching in February 2019, the Melbourne-based luggage startup is now looking to expand and replicate its success in North America.

“Airlines around the world restrict traveler luggage on two points: the size and the weight,” July cofounder Athan Didaskalou recently told Fortune, adding, “With our original Carry On and Carry On Pro, we maximized their dimensions to be the biggest carry-ons that were allowed on any domestic or international flight [and] take as much volume as possible on board with you.”

But there is also a traveler who focuses on the total weight of his or her bag, Didaskalou continues, because of budget flights or tighter restrictions in some parts of the world. Most carry-on weight limits fall between 15 to 22 pounds.

“So we wanted to create something for them: a light carry-on that would weigh 3.9 pounds to give them maximum volume for the rest of their items,” Didaskalou says. “This product direction means that travelers who fly globally often don’t have to worry about the restrictions in one region over another. Light luggage is a global demand product, and something that a lot of the direct-to-consumer luggage brands have failed to see as an innovation point.”

At 3.96 pounds (1.8 kilograms), the Carry On Light is outfitted in a polycarbonate shell with 360-degree double spinner wheels, and is able to hold up to 38 liters in volume.

“The shape of the Carry On Light is unique in that it feels familiar for a new object. It has an eggshell curve to it that helps it bounce back on a drop, making the most of the polycarbonate flexibility. Eggs, like bridges, use the shape of an arch to bear heavy loads,” Didaskalou describes. “These curves give it a more retro feel, a shape that was popular in the golden era of flying.”

“The Light traveler is youthful or young at heart—preferring to keep their luggage minimal and feature-free—apart from the one killer feature of being able to lift it effortlessly,” Didaskalou says. “I love seeing people’s faces when they first pick it up; they don’t expect it to be that light! It weighs as much as two bottles of water.”

Didaskalou recalls one review he read that made him laugh, as he described read: “When I picked up the cardboard box it arrived in, my initial thought was “Did they forget to put it in?”

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Returning to the office? Picture yourself in a ‘work tent’

March 24, 2021

Many employees are growing accustomed to the comforts of home amid a widespread shift to remote work. The current situation—impelled by the coronavirus pandemic—presents a challenge for businesses: figuring out how to best accommodate people when they return to the workplace, Fortune Magazine reports.

However, some companies are seeing a profitable new niche in the re-population of U.S. offices. Steelcase, the Michigan-based office furnisher, is rethinking the ubiquitous, open space layouts it has long promoted, for one. The firm recently tapped Chris Pottinger, an outdoor gear designer and former REI creative, to draw up ideas for a new, post-COVID working environment.

Priority No. 1 is attracting people back to headquarters. “As organizations begin to think about what they’ll need to do to create a safe return for their employees, they’re also thinking of how to create a compelling work experience to bring people back to,” says Markus McKenna, Steelcase’s director of Global Design and Workplace Innovation.

Enter the work tenta modern take on the classic cubicle that’s inspired by the great outdoors, a place many of us longed for during COVID-related shutdowns. The concept “is rooted in the human desire to seek shelter and protection from natural elements. For millennia tents have been structures that have done so much for humans, the biggest being protection—from bad weather, to hypothermia and other elements,” McKenna tells Fortune.

The designers created the work tent to limit distraction, increase privacy, and make the office more playful. The pop-up products “were designed to be flexible and change on demand for spaces that reimagine collaboration and create balance between team and individual work,” McKenna says.

Another element is just plain old-fashioned fun—and coziness. “When we’re young kids, we start making tentlike structures out of forts with cushions and blankets. There is this double duty that tents have in making us comfortable. When we use them as we sleep, we’re typically in our most vulnerable state or completely unconscious. Tents cocoon us and make us feel safe when we’re inside of them,” McKenna notes.

“When using tents, there’s this inherent memory that reminds us of our experiences in nature or our experiences when we were kids playing in the living room,” McKenna adds. “This feeling of safeness carries over to the office with work tents.”

Steelcase is introducing the work tent as part of a new product line featuring 46 items for sale. Other gear include the Boundary Tent, a lightweight, versatile freestanding screen, and the Table Tent, a covering that converts any desk, bench, or table into a private place to work.

The collection is inspired by Steelcase’s ongoing research into the work-from-home experience, McKenna says. The company believes employees want—and expect—their future offices to be shaped by this new normal.

“Many workers are office nomads who may not have a set place to go in the office. Work tents provide that flexible structure and sense of privacy wherever people need it. Work tents provide a sense of protection not necessarily against the elements or predators, but maybe a different kind of weather, whatever is happening inside the office,” McKenna says.

Steelcase is now shipping the Boundary Tent ($570) to buyers in North America. Pricing is yet to be determined for the Pod Tent, which will ship this summer. The Table Tent ($435) will ship in April.

“What’s been surprising is how strongly the pandemic has reshaped so many aspects of our lives, including where and how people want to work,” McKenna says. “[People] don’t want to go back to what they had before. They expect a better work experience moving forward.”

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

What’s Snoo? It’s a responsive bassinet that saves infants’ lives—in and out of the hospital

Febraury 17, 2021

Dr. Harvey Karp may not have been able to predict the pandemic, nor the extent to which it would complicate the usual challenges of parenting a newborn—but he is not surprised that his invention has been a tremendous source of relief during this time.

The Los-Angeles-based 70-year-old pediatrician, baby sleep expert—and founder of the Happiest Baby empire—is behind the Snoo, the world’s first responsive baby bed, which launched in 2016 to rave reviews, high-profile clients, and financial backing from two-time parents Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake, Fortune reports.

Indeed, during the past five years, the Snoo Smart Sleeper Bassinet has become the most awarded baby product in history. Recently, it was accepted into the FDA’s Breakthrough Devices Program, where it is undergoing review as the first device to prevent the leading causes of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)—nationwide annually.

While the smart bassinet is largely known as an at-home item used in the first months of a baby’s life, it also has become a critical tool for hospitals—particularly at understaffed maternity wards where nurses and doctors continue to be hit by record numbers of COVID-19 cases.

Currently, more than 75 hospitals are using Snoo—including Boston Children’s, Mount Sinai, Jefferson Health, and UCSF medical centers—some as part of research trials; others, as a result of the company’s bed and appliance donations, worth more than $100,000, to alleviate the heavy burdens on medical workers, Fortune says.

The Snoo, which retails for $1,495 or $30 per month as a rental, automatically responds to a baby’s cries and excessive squirming by rocking and activating low-level white noise. When the baby quiets, the bed detects the change and slows to a swing.

The bed—itself a beautiful Wi-Fi–enabled object designed by Yves Béhar of Fuseproject with an organic cotton mesh outer layer, sleek wood paneling, and hairpin legs—is the physical application of the “5 S’s,” a series of cues outlined in Dr. Karp’s bestselling book, The Happiest Baby on the Block, to ensure quality sleep. A mix of swaddling, positioning the baby on her side or stomach, shushing, swinging, and sucking is key to replicating the calming trance babies experience in utero.

“Babies are exposed to a symphony of sensations in the womb. The sounds are louder than a vacuum cleaner, and there is constant movement,” Dr. Karp tells Fortune, adding that “newborns need rhythmic stimuli as much as they need calories. It soothes them to sleep.” And longer, better-quality sleep for babies means more rest for parents.

Dr. Lauren Pioppo, chief resident in Internal Medicine at Rutgers Health RWJ Medical Center, whose department has been participating in a research study for trainees and fellows, trialed the bed after the birth of her first child last May. She insists it’s nothing short of a game changer.

“As both physicians and parents, we tend to be on the paranoid side. It gave me a lot of peace of mind knowing that my daughter was strapped in and I didn’t have to worry about her rolling or flipping or potentially having her face against the side,” she says. Babies are secured safely on their backs in the Snoo’s swaddle, while their heads remain free to move. If the wings of the swaddle aren’t properly locked in, the bassinet will not turn on. “It really took the place of me in the middle of the night. After feedings, she would fall back to sleep in less than two minutes. I only had to worry about feeding and changing her; there was no anxiety around sleep and how it would impact my shifts at work.”

According to Dr. Karp, the data drawn from 42,000 infants using the Snoo demonstrate they will sleep an extra hour or two on average from their first days of life. Being able to rely on a tool that responds to an infant’s needs has proved invaluable during the pandemic, as hospitals have been forced to limit nurse exposure to newborns and mothers as well as forgo volunteer cuddle programs (which provide comfort and skin-to-skin contact to premature babies and drug-exposed infants), and new parents go without at-home caregivers owing to social distancing—an additional burden.

Based on a company survey of 56 nurses across nine hospitals conducted from April 2020 to June 2020, the Snoo saves nurses 1.7 hours per shift each day, allowing them to focus on other tasks. What’s more, it reduces the rate of infection as well as the amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) required for a patient’s stay.

 “It’s true, you have to be a bit well-off to buy one,” Dr. Karp admits, adding that a night nurse would still cost more. “But that’s why we knew from the beginning that we’d go into rentals: to reach the largest number of people.” As of now, half of all Snoo consumers in the U.S. are renters, and more than 50 major companies subsidize the product as an employee benefit, including FacebookActivision Blizzard, and Snap, where it is considered a top new parent perk. The next step is getting insurance companies to cover the cost entirely.

“Babies are the same everywhere,” says Dr. Karp, matter-of-factly. “I truly believe this has the potential to change the world.”

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Trump supporters flee to MeWe, Gab, and Rumble after Parler goes offline

January 13, 2021

Now that the account of @realDonaldTrump has been banned from Twitter—and both Apple and Google have dropped Parler from their app stores—supporters are flocking to the social media sites MeWe, Gab, and Rumble, Fortune reports.

Gab, a service that claims to champion free speech, said it added 600,000 new users over the weekend. Meanwhile, MeWe, a similar service, said it has added 400,000 users every day since Saturday and now has more than 14 million members.

The gains follow Sunday’s shut down of conservative social network Parler, which went offline after Amazon web hosting service dumped Parler as a customer because of violent posts and threats in wake of the Capitol riot. Shortly beforehand, both Apple and Google had banned Parler from their app stores.

Adding to the increased interest in alternative social media sites are bans by Twitter and Facebook on President Trump and other high-profile conservative personalities..

On Monday, Fortune notes, Facebook went to the additional step of removing content containing the phrase “stop the steal” in hopes of preventing future violence. The phrase is a popular rallying call of Trump supporters who falsely believe there was widespread fraud in the presidential election.

“It’s almost like the perfect storm,” MeWe CEO Mark Weinstein told the news outlet, adding, “The melting pot of people coming to MeWe are coming from all directions.”

Weinstein hammered home the point that his goal is to be “more vigilant” in moderating content on his service, and that he does not want to be an “anything goes” app—a thinly veiled swipe at Parler’s lax approach.

He said that MeWe has just shy of 100 content moderators who review posts on its service, and that they actually adhere to “strict” terms of service that includes the possibility that they’ll alert authorities about any concerning posts. But on Monday, several QAnon and “patriot” private groups could be found, one of which called Patriots Unleashed asked users if they were “armed and ready” before allowing them to join.

Weinstein acknowledged that some of MeWe’s user growth has been due to Parler shutting down. But he added that the app was growing prior to the election and riots. As a result, he said MeWe’s users have a wide array of political views, and are not just Trumpists.

“Those other guys, they’re opinion chambers,” he said about Parler and Gab. “We’re a social network.”

The rise of alternative social media services began late last year after Facebook and Twitter began labeling and removing more posts on their services for election misinformation. Conservatives considered the crackdown to be evidence of bias against them and President Trump.

For example, Rumble, a little-known YouTube rival, suddenly soared in popularity. Over the weekend, users downloaded its app 162,000 times— a nearly 10-fold gain from last weekend, Fortune says.

But Mark Shmulik, analyst at investment bank AB Bernstein, said he doesn’t expect the latest rise in popularity of MeWe and Gab to be long-lasting. “It’s a fad,” he said. “There will be a little niche, but it won’t disrupt what we’re seeing on Twitter.”

Shmulik said Twitter and Facebook, though growing slower, are far larger and also attract a more diverse set of users with a diverse set of thoughts. That’s what makes big social media companies more engaging than the upstarts, he added, which he described as the “equivalent to Trump rallies.”

“You can continue that, but at some point you have to reach the masses,” Shmulik said.

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Go with the Flowbee: George Clooney reveals how he cuts his hair

December 11, 2020

With salons largely closed, male grooming has been in freefall since the start of the spring lockdown—and DIY haircuts have proven less-than-successful for many who no longer cut a dashing profile.

However, one Hollywood star has shown that—even in a global pandemic and, in fact, even before that—bad hair is not the great equalizer we hoped it would be, The Guardian reports.

George Clooney, the 59-year-old actor and human rights activist, has admitted to successfully cutting his own hair at home using a device called a Flowbee—an electrically powered vacuum cleaner attachment for cutting hair that has been on the market since 1988,

“My hair’s really like straw, so it’s easy,” Clooney recently told CBS Sunday Morning.

According to Clooney—twice voted People magazine’s sexiest man alive—the $139.95 (£103) contraption is so reliable that he has been using it for more than 22 years—and not simply during 2020. “My haircuts take literally two minutes,” he said, adding that its speed and efficiency had afforded him time to stain the garage doors, mop the floors and do much of the family’s washing during lockdown in their Los Angeles home.

The Flowbee was a defining product of the 1980s infomercial boom in the US. It was designed in 1988 by Rick Hunts, a San Diego carpenter who was moved to invent the product after using his industrial vacuum cleaner to suck sawdust out of his hair. Hunts initially created and sold the gadget from his garage. But it was live demonstrations at a local county fair that edged him towards success, before global fame soon beckoned him, in the form of late-night TV demonstrations. By 2010, more than 2 million Americans had bought one.

But times have changed and, more recently, the product has needed a “spokesperson” like Clooney to remind Americans that it still exists: Google searches for Flowbee took off following Clooney’s weekend admission and the Flowbee website itself crashed, The Guardian reports.

But while his endorsement will no doubt lend invaluable celebrity cachet to the brand’s image, largely unchanged since the 1980s, the Clooney effect is not in fact wholly responsible for the product’s recent success: The lack of personal services during the pandemic and the sharp increase in bad hair days are two major factors.

As early as mid-March, the Flowbee had sold out on Walmart’s website and on Amazon. It is not available in the UK, according to Fortune magazine; and  Amazon says it doesn’t know when the item will be back in stock.

Research contact: @guardian

‘Double’ features: Warner Bros. to release all 2021 films concurrently on HBO Max and in theaters

December 7, 2020

Warner Bros., one of Hollywood’s biggest studios, plans to release all of its major films next year at the same time—both in theaters and on HBO Max—a dramatic indication of just how much the pandemic and streaming video have sapped the movie industry.

According to a report by Fortune Magazine, the 17 films affected by the shift include the new installment of the “Matrix” franchise, the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical “In the Heights,” and the DC Comics superhero feature “The Suicide Squad.”

Each movie will run on the HBO Max streaming platform for one month at no additional charge—an approach that the AT&T streaming division of Warner already was planning for the debut of “Wonder Woman 1984” on Christmas Day.

Such a move would have been considered unthinkable a year ago, but the pandemic has obliterated industry norms. Theaters traditionally have had exclusive rights to films for up to three months, an arrangement they’ve defended vociferously. Now—with COVID-19 still raging and theaters either shuttered or thinly attended—studios are taking increasingly dramatic steps to protect their investments in would-be blockbusters.

The announcement slammed shares of theater chains, including industry leader AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. Its stock dove 16% to $3.62 in its worst intraday slide since Oct. 14. Cinemark Holdings Inc. dropped as much as 16%.

“We know new content is the lifeblood of theatrical exhibition,” said Ann Sarnoff, chief executive officer of WarnerMedia Studios. “But we have to balance this with the reality that most theaters in the U.S. will likely operate at reduced capacity throughout 2021.”

The new model could rapidly increase signups to HBO Max, a cornerstone of the long-term strategy for AT&T’s WarnerMedia. The platform launched this year, entering a crowded field that includes Netflix and Disney+. Although pandemic lockdowns have helped fuel industrywide growth for online services, AT&T is under pressure to show it can transition to the streaming era.

Warner was expected to compensate some of the larger cinema chains for their decision to put the new “Wonder Woman” film on HBO Max the same day it was released in theaters. It’s not yet clear what arrangement they could potentially strike for the 2021 films, but any deal will be important to their survival. Ticket sales year to date are down 78% to $2.2 billion, according to research firm Comscore Inc., leaving many cinemas teetering toward bankruptcy. That compares with more than $10 billion at this time a year ago.

Jason Kilar, WarnerMedia’s CEO, told Fortune that the important thing is to get movies out in front of audiences. “Our content is extremely valuable, unless it’s sitting on a shelf not being seen by anyone,” he said in a statement. “We believe this approach serves our fans, supports exhibitors and filmmakers, and enhances the HBO Max experience, creating value for all.”

Research contact: FortuneMagazine

Prescription for profits: As sales dwindled during pandemic, some pharmacies also offered pet meds

October 26, 2020

When stay-at-home orders began to spread nationwide, Shantelle Brown, owner of Hope Pharmacy in Richmond’s Church Hill neighborhood in Virginia, saw a rush, she recently told Fortune magazine.

Regular customers stocked up on their medications as they prepared to wait out the coronavirus pandemic. By the beginning of April, though, business had dried up.

One of the greatest ironies of the pandemic is that fewer people are visiting health care professionals—and that has impacted many pharmacies across the country. An August study from the Peterson Center on Healthcare and the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) found that the total number of filled prescriptions, as of late April, was down compared with January and February, but there were some signs of recent rebounding.

That initial gap was especially hard on small independent drugstores, including Brown’s.

Initially, Hope Pharmacy shifted to making hand sanitizer. The business distributed it to first responders at no charge and sold it to customers. The company vastly expanded its delivery business, as well, Fortune notes.

But as elective procedures were canceled, and apprehension grew about visiting the emergency room in that community, Brown knew she had to look for new ways to increase revenue.

One of the most successful initiatives has been adding pets to the patient list.

Before opening her own pharmacy, Brown worked at Sam’s Club, which included pet meds among its offerings while she was there. As she met with a strategic planning group during the early days of the pandemic, the idea popped into her head.

Getting access to the meds wasn’t hard. Many pets take the same medicines humans do for things like blood pressure and heart conditions. The trick was letting people know they had an option other than buying directly from their vet.

Brown’s not much for social media. She says she prefers a more “old-fashioned” way of attracting business, so she and her husband made up signs that people could put in their yards and flyers that accompanied deliveries. Before long, business picked up.

Hope Pharmacy, which opened at the end of April 2018, currently serves “800-something” people in the community, but since it began selling pet meds, it has been adding an average of two new patients per day. And while those aren’t numbers that would ping the radar at CVS, they’re huge for a small independent pharmacy.

“We had a couple of people advise us that we should partner with a vet,” says Brown. “I tried, but…I didn’t realize at the time how much vets were making off of pet meds. Our prices are so much cheaper, and we’re able to save patients quite a bit of money.”

The goal with this, as with the carrying of pet meds or other products that aren’t traditional pharmacy staples, is the same, though: build a closer relationship with the patient-customer to earn his or her loyalty. In the event that another substantial wave of COVID hits the country—or some other pandemic forces people back into their homes—those customers will be more apt to return quickly.

“In the pharmacy business, it takes a while to build a clientele because people are used to going where they go,” says Brown. “Our hope and goal is not to just get the animal—we want the whole family.”

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Singapore pays citizens to exercise with the Apple Watch

September 17, 2020

In its first-ever branding alliance with a sovereign nation, Apple has announced that it is partnering with the government of Singapore to launch an Apple Watch health initiative that offers cash rewards to participants, Fortune Magazine reports.

Starting in late October, Singapore citizens who own an Apple Watch (or want to buy one) can download an app called LumiHealth—which will challenge them each to participate in exercises such as swimming and yoga; as well as to complete health screenings and immunizations. By doing so, users can earn a maximum of $280 over the program’s two-year run.

The app assigns users tasks based on personal information such as age, gender, and weight. It was designed “with user privacy and security at its core,” according to Apple’s press release on the partnership.

“Even as all of us around the world are dealing with the challenges of COVID-19, we must keep investing in our future. And there is no better investment than in our own personal health,” Heng Swee Keat, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Ministersaid in a statement.

Singapore’s government launched a similar initiative in 2019 when it partnered with Fitbit to provide Singapore residents with free fitness trackers, if they bought a premium subscription to the company’s coaching program. That program is ongoing.

The new program is a boon to Apple since it’s an added incentive for Singaporeans to purchase the brand’s watch. The watch is an increasingly vital part of Apple’s business. In January, Apple reported that revenue from “wearables” like the Apple Watch surpassed Mac revenue for the first time.

Singapore has a universal health care system often held up as a public health model for other countries; it also has one of the most rapidly aging populations in the world. The Apple and Fitbit collaborations are two of many programs designed by Singapore’s Ministry of Health to promote public health.

The government is also using technology for its management of the coronavirus outbreak. On Monday, Singapore began to distribute small “tokens,” which can be worn around the neck with a lanyard, that feature a QR code and a Bluetooth connection so that residents who don’t have smartphones—about 5% of the population—can participate in TraceTogether, the government’s Bluetooth tracking smartphone app for coronavirus cases that launched in March.

Currently, around 40% of Singapore’s population has downloaded the contact tracing app; the government is targeting a 70% participation rate.

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Old Navy will pay employees to work at polling places on Election Day

September 3, 2020

Tuesday, September. 1, was  National Poll Worker Recruitment Day in the United States—and, the level of response among Americans nationwide will determine just how many of the 250,000 poll workers positions that remain open for the 2020 election will be filled, Fortune reports.

Poll workers will be desperately needed this year, as many at-risk individuals are opting out of serving because of health concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

To engage field employees across the country in the voting process and ensure that polling sites operate efficiently this year, Old Navy announced it will pay its store employees who wish to work the polls on Election Day in November.

The retailer is working with the Civic Alliance, a nonpartisan coalition of businesses encouraging voter turnout; and Power the Polls, a nonpartisan initiative to recruit poll workers for the 2020 U.S. presidential election to ensure a safe and fair election for all voters. The Civic Alliance is leading all corporate partnerships for Power the Polls in a national effort to enlist a new wave of poll workers.

“Voting is for everyone, regardless of beliefs or affiliations, and we believe we are all better when we engage in the process,” an Old Navy spokesperson recently told Fortune. “We felt this opportunity was a new and unique way to provide the opportunity and encouragement to our employees in stores across the country to become more involved in the democratic process without worrying about sacrificing a shift at work. This election has the potential for a[n] historic turnout, and our teams can help make a difference in our communities.”

The initiative is completely voluntary, and it is the first time the company has conducted an event like this. Old Navy field employees will be able to apply to join Power the Polls through internal communication channels. Upon completing the application, Power the Polls will connect individuals with their local counties to continue the process. Poll workers are ultimately selected by the election commissioner of each county, depending on the needs of the jurisdiction.

Old Navy says it will compensate associates who serve as poll workers with a day of pay, regardless of whether they are scheduled to work on Tuesday, November 3. Employees who serve at voting sites can also be paid by their county election commission, and it won’t conflict with wages paid out by Old Navy. (Local jurisdictions often pay poll workers a stipend via check for participation. In some cases, poll working may be voluntary and unpaid.)

Old Navy says all employees are welcome to apply to serve as poll workers in their communities, but pay coverage is available only for in-store, hourly employees, not employees on the corporate side of the company. The retailer is also offering shift coverage on Election Day for store employees who cannot or do not want to work at polling sites, but still need time to vote. Store managers will be directed to work with their teams to provide up to three hours of paid time off on Election Day to allow employees to cast their ballots in person.

And the company says November 3 will be designated as a “no meetings day” for employees who work in corporate functions to provide flexibility to vote in person and/or to serve locally, as best fits their schedules.

“As a company, we believe that participating in the democratic process is a vital right, and we are committed to removing roadblocks so employees don’t have to choose between serving or voting and work,” says a spokesperson for Old Navy.

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine