I read this week with quite some interest an article in the June edition of Talent Management Magazine called “Riding the ROWE Wave“. ROWE stands for Results-Only Work Environment, which caught my attention straight away! Imagine working in an environment were the focus is on only the end results, not the road taken to obtain those results.
While this type of work environment calls for unlimited vacation, flexible schedules and working locations, its focus is on individual accountability, team dynamics and evaluating performance based on results. Unlike a lot of work environments where being busy is a sign of productivity and worth, in a ROWE it doesn’t matter how busy you are as long as you obtain results.
Being a training guy, I was particularly intrigued with how this company in the article used training to change the culture. Not to take away from the details of their story (you really need to read it for yourself) I had not even thought of the challenges to changing to ROWE. I am by nature a very productive person, and I use my time effectively to get a lot of work accomplished. Yet if I had a frustration with the corporate environment, it was that it was very restrictive to what time I needed to begin my day and when I was allowed to go home.
For many workers, this kind of structure is necessary to minimize the excuse for not getting things done. And when management is monitoring hours at work, and not how much is accomplished, people spend a lot of hours at the job trying to appear busy.
The motivation this company cited for switching to ROWE was their desire to attract top talent and generate better business results. It would appear they have been very successful so far, much to the credit of their Chief Human Resources Officer. This was never going to be a simple transition, but she was able to pull it off because she was also focused on results. Imagine!