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Wondering if anyone has yet read "Why Work Sucks (and How to Fix It)." The authors note that corporate America lives according to the following myth: time + physical presence = results. They propose, alternatively, a "Results-Only Work Environment" in which "each person is free to do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as the work gets done." The ONLY thing looked at are results - not time spent, not presence in the office, not how you dress, etc.

The authors developed and launched the "Results-Only Work Environment" in rather creative fashion at Best Buy with some notable (i.e., measurable) results. It was the subject of a Business Week cover story last year, and as I walked through an airport last night on my way home, found this just-released book written by the women who created the concept. It's a quick read - finished it on the flight - but really thought-provoking.

I'd be interested in others' thoughts.

cwatine's picture

Balance.

As a company owner I would be of course naturally inclined in that direction too. But with balance.

In one company I know very well, people were doing 12 hours per day and they were working during week ends, answering me Emails at 2 in the morning, did not take their vacations and this kind of things. What you could call crazily-dedicated people. The profit of the company was not so good. Worse than that : those people had no private life, most of them were single, always tired. And ... The history of medical problems was such that it was refused by most "health help" contract.

So I agree, I judge, pay and promote people on results, dedication, values, collaboration skills, etc.

And I feel I have a responsibility in giving them the opportunity with balancing their life aswell. Because they are people and because it is good for long term performance in the company.

I also think that the best way to fight against slackers is to build a sense of accountability (hope translation is ok) in the team. I found it much more efficicient than trying to control eveything my self.

HMac's picture

[quote="cedwat"]In one company I know very well, people were doing 12 hours per day and they were working during week ends, answering me Emails at 2 in the morning, did not take their vacations and this kind of things. What you could call crazily-dedicated people. The profit of the company was not so good.[/quote]

Ced -
Thanks for reminding us there's a context here - that Work From Home, Result-Oriented Work Environment and even Work-Life Balance don't exist independent from some key measures of effectiveness, like:

[list]Is the enterprise profitable (and sustainable)?

Are the customers satisfied (likely to return)?

Are the employees engaged (likely to stay)?[/list:u]

Your example reminded me that no matter what your approach is (ROWE, WFH, crazy-dedicated, etc), it's not going to matter much if you can't sustain a profit! So concentrating on the "work environment" without an equal focus on customer satisfaction AND profitability seems short-sighted.

-Hugh

stephenbooth_uk's picture

[quote="cedwat"]Balance.

As a company owner I would be of course naturally inclined in that direction too. But with balance.[/quote]

Oh, I quite agree. It's not in anyone's interests, really, to work people to death. There is, however, a fairly broad margin between that and some of the more excessive demands that come in under the banner of Work-Life balance.

If someone can't work late on a specific day due to other commitments (obviously there's some comman sense to be applied to the commitment, your kid's school play is OK but I'd question the viability of refusing to work late because you don't want to miss tonight's episode of "The Apprentice", that was given to me last year as a reason someone couldn't work late, I arranged for the episode to be taped for them) then I'm fine with that, and sometimes go that way myself. What I find more difficult to rationalise is those people who have taken jobs where the occasional late finish is to be expected and will never work late

[quote="cedwat"]In one company I know very well, people were doing 12 hours per day and they were working during week ends, answering me Emails at 2 in the morning, did not take their vacations and this kind of things. What you could call crazily-dedicated people. The profit of the company was not so good. [/quote]

My inner business analyst is now itching to get inside that company to find out what's going wrong and propose a solution. If people are basically killing themselves through over work but the company is not making decent profits then there must be something pretty major wrong. Although, the first thing that comes to mind is to question if the reason they're not doing well is they're carrying a lot of staff off sick with work related stress.

Stephen

AManagerTool's picture

Sorry,

I was reading the book. I wanted to provide some sort of educated opinion. Unfortunately, the book was so completely boring that I returned it to Barnes and Noble. I got a quarter of the way through. Maybe it got better, I'll never know. I don't have the time to try to force a book down.

I read at least two - three business titles a month. I had this one for at least a month and I dreaded picking it up.

Why was it dull?
1. No specific examples other than BestBuy's pilot. The author talks about other ROWE-like implementations but nothing in the way of a specific set of examples
2. No results analysis...did this increase sales? I couldn't tell.
3. Rambling thoughts.
4. Reiteration of the same point over and over.
5. Lots of opinion.
6. Kind of wishful thinking about human nature....not tainted by the posts on this thread.

I don't know...I feel bad but there it is. It was just painful.

PersephoneK's picture

[quote="AManagerTool"]Sorry,

I was reading the book. I wanted to provide some sort of educated opinion. Unfortunately, the book was so completely boring that I returned it to Barnes and Noble. I got a quarter of the way through. Maybe it got better, I'll never know. I don't have the time to try to force a book down.

I read at least two - three business titles a month. I had this one for at least a month and I dreaded picking it up.

Why was it dull?
1. No specific examples other than BestBuy's pilot. The author talks about other ROWE-like implementations but nothing in the way of a specific set of examples
2. No results analysis...did this increase sales? I couldn't tell.
3. Rambling thoughts.
4. Reiteration of the same point over and over.
5. Lots of opinion.
6. Kind of wishful thinking about human nature....not tainted by the posts on this thread.

I don't know...I feel bad but there it is. It was just painful.[/quote]

Bummer that you felt this way. I found it to be one of the most interesting reads of this type ever.

1. I think they specifically stayed away from specific examples so that readers didn't get the idea that ROWE only applies to one type of business, but I could be wrong.

2. They did specifically say that productivity increased by around 35 - 41% (I forget the exact number). Sales are not the only type of business BB tracks. They also gave specific numbers for dollars saved due to turnover matters. It was in the millions.

3. I didn't find it rambling at all.

4. They did reiterate points over again, but that's a basic memory trick. Reinforcement. I didn't find it to be distracting though. To each their own.

5. It did have lots of opinion backed up by the results they measured at BB. That's what analysis is.

6. Why is it wishful thinking? It seems to be working for BB. I think the writers believe that there is a better way to work and aren't stuck on the "it will never be that way so why bother" attitude. The world never changes by continuing with the status quo.

HMac's picture

[quote="AManagerTool"]Sorry... I don't have the time to try to force a book down. [/quote]

Wiser words are hard to find.

It seems like a lot of books I've read lately just don't have enough content to justify their length. They're great for a chapter or two, then...nothing.

cwatine's picture

[quote="PersephoneK"][quote="AManagerTool"]Sorry,

I was reading the book. I wanted to provide some sort of educated opinion. Unfortunately, the book was so completely boring that I returned it to Barnes and Noble. I got a quarter of the way through. Maybe it got better, I'll never know. I don't have the time to try to force a book down.

I read at least two - three business titles a month. I had this one for at least a month and I dreaded picking it up.

Why was it dull?
1. No specific examples other than BestBuy's pilot. The author talks about other ROWE-like implementations but nothing in the way of a specific set of examples
2. No results analysis...did this increase sales? I couldn't tell.
3. Rambling thoughts.
4. Reiteration of the same point over and over.
5. Lots of opinion.
6. Kind of wishful thinking about human nature....not tainted by the posts on this thread.

I don't know...I feel bad but there it is. It was just painful.[/quote]

Bummer that you felt this way. I found it to be one of the most interesting reads of this type ever.

1. I think they specifically stayed away from specific examples so that readers didn't get the idea that ROWE only applies to one type of business, but I could be wrong.

2. They did specifically say that productivity increased by around 35 - 41% (I forget the exact number). Sales are not the only type of business BB tracks. They also gave specific numbers for dollars saved due to turnover matters. It was in the millions.

3. I didn't find it rambling at all.

4. They did reiterate points over again, but that's a basic memory trick. Reinforcement. I didn't find it to be distracting though. To each their own.

5. It did have lots of opinion backed up by the results they measured at BB. That's what analysis is.

6. Why is it wishful thinking? It seems to be working for BB. I think the writers believe that there is a better way to work and aren't stuck on the "it will never be that way so why bother" attitude. The world never changes by continuing with the status quo.[/quote]

I agree on most of the points from AManagertool. And ... I did not find the book boring.

It is rambling, and I was disturbed by this way of presenting things in the first run. Then, progressively, I thought I should read it because it is the way some people (more and more in fact) see work. And ... I expected rambling with such a title!

I also agree on the lack of data. At the same time, so many books are stuffed with proofs about the result and they forget to motivate you about what they are exposing !

As I told, definitely [u]NOT[/u] the best book I have read this year, but still, interesting.

cwatine's picture

[quote="HMac"][quote="AManagerTool"]Sorry... I don't have the time to try to force a book down. [/quote]

Wiser words are hard to find.

It seems like a lot of books I've read lately just don't have enough content to justify their length. They're great for a chapter or two, then...nothing.[/quote]

One of the good advices from the book from Ferris is this one : learn to put down a book when after 1/3 of it you find it will not get you anywhere.

cmpfinancial's picture

I found the ROWE concept interesting, however, the book and even moreso their website seems to be an incessant rant. As an entrepreneur, I am sold on the idea and I'd like positive support to get a ROWE going, from a owner's/manager's perspective. This is the only discussion I could find on the site that actually has managerial feedback. However, it doesn't appear that anyone in this group has begun implementing a ROWE.

I have hesitated because here in the US there are payroll laws that state that a non-exempt employee must be paid for their time and are subject to overtime rules. Moreover, it is the employer's responsibility to track the time, not the employee's. I recently became aware of a case where the employer was charged back employer taxes and penalized because the employee claimed they worked more hours than they reported on their timesheets. The employer did not have an alternative method of disproving the employee, and therefore lost the case.

Furthermore, there are strict qualifications that must be met before the employee can be treated on an exempt (salaried) status.

I have so many questions with regard to starting a ROWE. Does anyone in this group want to get started? We could support each other and maybe others will join. Primarily I'd like to brainstorm how to implement the ROWE and still remain compliant to federal and state law.

AManagerTool's picture

Wow cmpfinancial!

First post out of the box and already delivering value. Good for you!

Perhaps, you can find a co-conspirator here and perhaps not but bravo for trying. Are you in LinkedIn? That would be a good place to look for other people looking to try this concept out as well. Maybe you could start a group.

Keep us apprised of what goes on. This will be interesting. It has provided fodder for a near endless stream of controversy here and it made for great debates.

cmpfinancial's picture

Thanks for the kudos AManagerTool. :wink:

The ROWE concept was introduced to me during a lecture by Ron Baker --see www.verasage.com. It ties in well with his theory of value pricing and eliminating timesheets and the billable hour. (We could start a whole new thread for his book "Pricing on Purpose".) By the end of this year, I will no longer bill clients by the hour, but instead I will secure value-based fixed-price contracts based on the customers perception of the value my organization provides. The thought of not having to track every ten minutes of time for every knowledge worker in my company is riveting and liberating to say the least. I simply want to do it legally with the highest level of protection against workforce lawsuits, audits and penalties.

How do I get in LinkedIn?

Cyndi

AManagerTool's picture

Just sign up here for LinkedIn
[url]http://www.linkedin.com/[/url]

stephenbooth_uk's picture

[quote="cmpfinancial"]
How do I get in LinkedIn?
[/quote]

You can sign up at [url]http://www.linkedin.com/[/url]. LinkedIn is a professional networking site aimed at helping you to keep contact with former co-workers. There are also groups (including one for Manager Tools users) and a Question and Answer forum.

If you have any questions, feel free to send me a private message.

Stephen

dkuperman's picture

The great thing about this forum is that when I think about a subject, and go search for it, it has already been discussed at the forum! :)

Just my 2cents...

If you like the concept of ROWE, you should also read the following book:

Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace
Author: Ricardo Semler

This book was published in 1995! Great story about this guy who decided to implement a ROWE-type mgmt style to a manufacturing company. Think retail is tough, how do you tell the people at the factory floor they now have the flexibility of deciding when to come? And how about dealing with unions?

Of course, it's not all happiness, and success, but is a great story.

Another place to check is TechTarget (www.techtarget.com). I know a couple people that work there (they were among the 100 best places to work) and they tell me they can show up whenever they want, as long as they meet their goals.

And finally, after reading this thread it seems to me that:

a. ROWE is not for everyone
b. ROWE is not for every company
c. ROWE needs to be adjusted

a: some jobs, it seems, are easier to measure and apply ROWE. Take sales, for instance. If the sales rep meets or exceeds his/her quota, that's easily measurable. Who cares where this rep is located? In my company all our reps are remot (they work from home offices) and we really don't care whether they are logged on 8 hours or 3. They sell, we know it. In addition to this, certain types of people may not adapt well to ROWE, some people need the structure that a 9 to 5 job provides and the monitoring that comes with it, while others are naturally more inclined to a ROWE style environment.

b: another factor that was not discussed (or I may have missed) is related to company culture. In some companies it may be easier to implement ROWE than in others... it's all about what type of people you want working for your company and the type of culture you cultivate among your employees.

c: Applying ROWE blindly won't get you anywhere... what works for Best Buy won't work for your company, you need to take into consideration the people you already have working for you (can they take ROWE?), the type of industry you're in and maybe the country/state. Adapting to what you want to achieve w/ ROWE is almost as important as what you'd like to do with all that "free" time you'll get!

:)

cwatine's picture

[quote]If you like the concept of ROWE, you should also read the following book:

Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace
Author: Ricardo Semler[/quote]

Thank you for the advice, I'll add it to my list.

I am reading currently "l'entreprise réconciliée" (sorry it is French). It has been written by one of the most succesful French CEO, Jean-Marie Descarpentries. One of his successfull concepts is to offer and measure the best working environment to his people because he has measured that there was a direct link between that and the company performance.

[quote]a. ROWE is not for everyone[/quote]

Absolutely.

I am trying to implement it with the people who can.
Sales people is a nice example. We are currently renewing our sales force. We are looking for very autonome people. We don't want to measure how many visits they make. They will be judged : on the number of project they find and then sign.
During the interviews we found out that some people were very unconfortable with this idea and others were just eager to start...

It is also working well with my directs who all are managers.
It can work because :
- we have very regular meetings (O3 and team)
- they all have between 4-6 MT goals (linked to the main goal for the company)

So : the book is extreme. The implementation doesn't have to be.

Glenn Ross's picture

BLUF: Page 158-160 Voluntary turnover down. Involuntary turnover up. Three teams surveyed showed savings of from 1.3 to 3.0 million dollars.

I read Why Work Sucks in 90 minutes. I'm guessing this was the first book by the authors and their lack of experience in holding the reader's attention showed.

However, I did finish it. One of the reviewers on Amazon.com suggested that the lack of specifics was intended not to provide a "how-to" but to start the discussion. I'd say that's worked especially well in this forum. :D

There is resistance to ROWE in my organization. But then there was resistance at Best Buy. I'm going to advocate that we adopt ROWE in my organization. The times, they are a-changin', younger workers respond differently, the price of gasoline is up, and budgets are tight.

Clinton strategist, James Carville posted a sign in his staff's war room that said, "It's the economy, stupid!

I say, "It's the results, managers!"

rstinnett's picture

Let me introduce myself -- I am not a current manager, but did manage people in the past. I got out of that role because I enjoy being the "guy that gets it done". Having said that...

I read the book, loved it, and thought (as a Gen X 34 year old worker) it made sense. I see a lot of people saying it will "kill relationships" and "the remote worker won't get promoted", etc. A few observations:

* Many people (including myself) have no intention of impressing anyone except with our results. We don't want to play the corporate "promote me" game. I expect to be compensated fairly for my results. If I am not, I will go somewhere where I am. Period. It's up to the company to determine if they want to play corporate bingo or pay their performers. Simple choice if you ask me.

* I have no desire to build my social network at work. My family and friends are what are most important to me. I build my social networks at home and with them. Work is for generating results for my employer -- not socializing. That isn't to say I don't participate in social activities, but as a young worker I am not depending on work to be my pure social network.

* I saw my mother, who worked 25+ years for a company for a company, get thrown to the curb ONE YEAR before she was eligible for a pension. She missed a lot of my childhood because she was working. I promised myself, after she passed away last year, I would NEVER, EVER do this to my family -- put my job above them. It isn't worth it.

* Results don't happen just from 8 to 5. My best ideas come at midnight or later. Again, the smart companies out there will realize this and adapt. The smart people will therefore follow the smart companies.

* Life is too short. This goes back to family and friends, but I have no desire to spend my entire life working non-stop and ignoring the world around me. I will generate results for my employer -- amazing results that are solid -- but in return they are going to have to realize that clock watching me isn't going to work.

* The world is changing -- we are in a global economy. Today, for most of us, the world doesn't begin at 8 and stop at 5. So the very idea that these are the only "working" hours is ridiculous.

The book gives you ideas; ideas that will fit differently into each company. As a company, you can choose to ignore them -- but when you look around in a few years and realize that all the really smart people, the people who really produced results, are long gone and your company is no longer thriving the only person you will have to blame is yourself.

My two cents worth.... but I do encourage people to read the book. And just be open for conversations with your workers. But before you have those conversations, you are going to have to trust your employees. If you don't trust them to begin with (I question why you hired them in the first place) then having conversations is pointless.

Rob

AManagerTool's picture

rstinnett,

Welcome!

Thanks for sharing your viewpoints. I think that you are going to have a rough time because of them but I respect you for sharing them with us.

I guess the overwhelming theme in your post is that results are the only thing that counts and to hell with companies or organizations that don't recognize that. The complete meritocracy that you envision is not real and due to human nature and our base instincts it probably never will be.

We are tribal. We still examine what people wear, how they talk, who they hang around with. That stuff that is extraneous to results...counts...a bunch. Companies are social institutions.

Your employer DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOU and they NEVER WILL. You are a means to an end. Anyone who tells you different is deluding themselves or outright lying to you. If a top performer is no longer needed, they are discarded. That includes the ones that generate results. It's heartless but it's real.

Here is my plan to deal with this reality. I will do the best I can with both relationships and results. I am going to play the "promote me" games. At the same time, I am looking out for myself and my employer by being proactive in the management of my career. I develop my skills. My resume is ready. I am working on relationships with recruiters. My social network at work and home is STRONG. I hear about things that my managers tell me I shouldn't know and that they didn't know. I never eat alone. I work out after work with co-workers and play poker on the weekends with other managers from both my job and my wife's, genuinely enjoy their company and count them as friends. I am also saving a nest egg for that eventual time when my employer discards me or I discard them.

The Ferris book and this one has generated so much discussion and I think it's really healthy. We can aspire towards an ideal but always remember the realities of the human condition. "Pray to the Lord but pass the ammunition!"

GlennR's picture

Rob, I think you hit the nail on the head. Several times. Your bottom line IS the bottom line--it all comes down to trust.

One other point. The book does not address this but I don't believe ROWE has been implemented at the retail level n Best Buy. You have to have a certain amount of staff on duty at all times to provide customer support and security.

In my organization, we provide services out of our frontline offices. I would have liked to see a chapter on how to gain acceptance of ROWE in the corporate and other offices, when there will be certain positions that require people be at work during normal business hours.

rstinnett's picture

Glenn -

Thanks for your reply. Yes, you will see Cali & Jody talk about this in the book -- "trust". The bottom line is most employers think the first chance they turn their backs the employees are going to steal everything that isn't nailed down. Really sad when you think about it.

I haven't heard anything abut the retail rollout, but that is a good question. I'll post it over on the ROWE blog to see if they have an update.

AManagerTool -

Thanks for your reply as well. Perhaps I live in a dream world, but I stopped playing corporate politics 3 years ago and I couldn't be happier. If I want to work out, I will go work out with my teenage son and talk to him about his world; or work out with my college buddies from years back to see what is happening in their world. I have no desire to "buddy, buddy" with the boss to gain face.

And when I hear people say "it won't work" and "can't be done" I just say, "Well, seems to have worked just fine for Best Buy". The people who say "can't" and "won't" are the type of people the world will leave behind as we move faster and faster.

The world is changing. Old ideas and beliefs are crumbling faster than ever. You can either be a part of the change, or be part of ancient history. I, personally, plan on being part of the change.

HMac's picture

Rob:

Welcome! Thoughtful posts - you're taking time to communicate on the boards, and you're a welcome new voice.

It seems that your individual contributor role is the right fit for you (you introduced yourself as someone who used to manage others but got out of it by choice).

My only caution is that by shunning relationship-building, you risk becoming irrelevant to the organization.

[b]Unless your results are SPECTACULAR, or your skills are genuinely unique in the market, company leaders can always rationalize replacing you with somebody else. [/b] And when nobody has much of a relationship with you, there's nobody to argue your case behind closed doors.

[list][i]An indicator of spectacular results: [/i] the Division President and/or CEO knows you by name and makes it a point to communicate with you a couple of times a year.

[i]An indicator of genuinely unique skills:[/i] Recuiters and competitors are contacting you 3- 4 times a month.[/list:u]
-Hugh

rstinnett's picture

Hugh -

Thanks for your reply. You bring up a good point, so let me clarify a bit.

I don't go out of my way to be anti-social. I'll be glad to discuss results, projects, tasks, etc. I take great pride in that most people know who I am, and what I do where I work -- because of the results. I am cordial in my efforts, and will go out of my way to make sure people get what they need, when they need it.

What I won't do is put in face time for face time sake. Again, I'd rather go to a State Park with my family than go golfing, etc. I'd rather be generating results for an internal customer than be sitting in a meeting talking about something that has no direct impact on the company, the bottom line or my projects.

I also don't judge my colleagues or co-workers by the clock. I could care less when you get that information to me -- just as long as I get it by the 1st of the month. If you want to do it at 3:00AM then more power to you. You generated the RESULTS I needed and that is all I ask for. (In ROWE, judging people based on time is called Sludge)

One of the misconceptions about ROWE is that everyone flees the office never to be seen again. This couldn't be more farther from the truth. ROWE gives people the FREEDOM to do what they need to do without having to beg like a child to do it. You need to spend time with your child helping him learn math -- then do it. Want to take a vacation with your family for two weeks -- then do it. Feel like catching a movie at 2:30 on a Friday? Knock yourself out! Work from home every Tuesday to help save on commuting costs -- have at it!

The only thing ROWE asks for is results. If you go to the movie, vacation, etc. and you miss deadlines or can't produce results then there is a problem that needs to be addressed and will be addressed. Termination is a very real possibility in a ROWE when you can't produce results. Again, ROWE shows you who is working and who is putting in "face time".

Furthermore, just because you aren't in your cubicle doesn't mean you are not available. Employees and management use the tools available in our 21st century society to communicate and collaborate. ROWE does stop the endless, useless meetings -- you better have a darn good reason for needing people to attend a meeting and you are held accountable for calling the meeting. Having a meeting as a social gathering is not acceptable in a ROWE.

Again, I hate to sound like a broken record, but its all about trust. If you don't trust your employee to leave at 2:30 on Friday to see a movie, despite the fact that he/she has produced more revenue for the company than anyone else, then why is that? That points out a serious flaw in management.

(Without trust as a foundation, ROWE will never work)

HMac's picture

Thanks for the clarification, Rob.

While I don't have direct experience with ROWE, I've asked several colleagues who work at Best Buy corporate HQ for their impressions.

One of the things that struck me was that it seems to be a bigger deal for us on the outside than it is for those on the inside. That is, ROWE just became a codification of behavioral norms that were already working effectively in some parts of the organization. ROWE was just a way to "spread it around" to departments that were less accepting, slower to move, or simply unaware of the practices. (I think you made the point a few posts ago about the importance of CULTURE - that's right on the money when I listen to Best Buy employees talk about how little difference there was "before" and "after" ROWE).

-Hugh

terrih's picture
jhack's picture
JorrianGelink's picture

I spent about 30 minutes reading what everyone had to say here, MASSIVE discussion here!

Understanding everyone's points of view, I took a large scale view and was wondering "Why is this such a massive discussion?"

The answer I came up with is: [b]The model is high risk.[/b]

Can ROWE work, of course it can, all models can work when set up in the proper conditions. Relinquishing control and the "boundaries" that people get affected with can really improve the morale of any employee.

In the ideal situation for ROWE to work, one would say "That's fantastic! I don't have to come early to work as long as I perform, now that the chains are broken the creative juices in me can flow and I can start coming up with some brilliant ideas to help drive my companies goals and success!"

Unfortunately, the chances are the first thought to mind will be "That's fantastic! Now I get to spend more time with my family, get to spend more time with my buddies, stay at the bar later, watch more of my PVR, play more video games, go on vacation anytime I please, if I'm having a "bad day" who needs game face? I can just go home!"

Unless that person is 100% dedicated to their company and the well being of their company, by all means run ROWE and help those people become better at what they do.

Working in retail sales management however, or any other management position, [u]I do not ever want to run the risk of 3 of my directs deciding to go on a week vacation at the same time, have results suffer for the week and THEN terminate them.[/u]

[u]What a conversation could look like under ROWE:[/u]

"Jorrian, when you decided to come past 12 PM, you didn't get the morning work complete, you could never do O3's with your team because they came in whenever or would come in hung over, work an hour and then go home, because we were BOTH not on schedules, I couldn't coach you. Now that you're back from your two week vacation, we've lost two weeks of customers to competitors, had to shut down a department for a week, terminated a few employees based on performance and finished 20% to budget; therefore I am going to terminate you"

The damage is done. That's not even getting into [i]training [/i]a new manager and new staff under ROWE.

[b]Final Statement: ROWE can be a strong model as long as the environment and the right people are [u]already[/u] there [u]supporting[/u] it.[/b]

cwatine's picture

That is very wise. I agree.
It is impossible to even think about ROWE if you dont already have a good performance (results) measuring system and a real dedication to the company.
For me, it means that I just think about it for my best performers. In fact I already have much less "time control" with them !

Pbacker's picture

Sorry to join this discussion so late, but years down the road, I am interested in what people think of ROWE now. At first, it seemed to have been viewed as a fad, but it has stuck around over the years. Anyone have a change of heart, one way or the other?

Just to give my background, I was in one of the first groups with BBY to go ROWE. It was difficult at first, as it was not only a change to your thinking, but a change to what you've been taught all throughout your working life: If you can't be busy, LOOK busy. At least until it's time to go home.

ROWE was a great change that has still affected me over the years. It was originally developed as "Alternative scheduling" because Best Buy's location was at a major cross-section of twin cities traffic, and people in the area were worried that when people came to and left from work at BBY, the additional traffic flow would be unmanageable. However, it grew from there into what is now ROWE.

I have since left Best Buy and work for another company. Upon interviewing with my new company, one of my first questions was, "Do you have anything like ROWE at your company?" Unfortunately, the answer was no, and I found myself accepting the job anyway. 

 Having been in a ROWE environment, I do find myself looking at lots of things differently, including the inefficiencies of certain meetings or processes. Do we all really need to sit in a meeting room to discuss a PPT that could have been emailed out and read? is "Managing By Walking Around" really an effective tool? 

I'd love to hear more thoughts on this and know if anyone has had other experiences, either similar or much different in a ROWE than mine.

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