Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Results-Only Work Environment

I posted a bit about "Results-Only Work Environment" (or "ROWE") last year, in light of Best Buy's rolling out this concept at its HQ. At first blush, the name strikes me as faintly ludicrous - after all, aren't results the only thing that matters in the workplace?

It's a sad statement about how far from this headset so many corporate workplaces are that the creators of ROWE had to choose such an obvious name, but one hopes it serves as a daily reminder of what's important - and what's not - in the office. The concept of ROWE is a simple one; to quote CultureRx, the creators of ROWE:

"In a ROWE, people do whatever they want whenever they want as long as the work gets done. In the park, in a coffee shop, in the shower. At midnight or 3am or on Sunday. Whenever and wherever."

I'd take this as a manifesto of sorts - obviously not every job lends itself to a "whenever/wherever" working style, and sometimes acheiving results requires that the "whenever/wherever" be "in the office, this morning." The important distinction is that all questions of time, place and process are viewed through the lens of maximizing results, not face time or some antiquated notion of needing to clock a set number of hours each day in the office.

Of course, critical to making this work is that managers trust employees and employees take true ownership of getting results rather than filling a chair. It also means understanding that a) there are times you do all need to be together in the office to get the work done; and b) "reachability" and responsiveness become absolutely critical. Finally, it also means recognizing that some people get their best results by working in a corporate office for set hours.

The CultureRX site also has an amusing section on "sludge" - negative (and usually passive-aggressive) workplace language used to cast judgment on those who may not be filling their chairs as ardently as the sludge-slingers. Anyone who has spent quality time in a corporation has no doubt seen more than their share of this! I would add to this concept "sludge avoidance" - the subspecies of corporate type who constantly has to tell you how hard they are working, the sacrifices they are making to spend time in the office, etc.


Anonymous said...

Cali and Jody's book, WHY WORK SUCKS AND HOW TO FIX IT will be out in April of 2008.

Hope you'll take a look?


Scott said...