ROWE: Results Only Work Environment

The Results Only Work Environment is a system implemented by BestBuy’s corporate offices. It is fairly self explanatory, but in short, employees are just expected to produce good quality work on time, they are not expected to be at work for a set amount of time.

ROWE

For the longest time, working 7.5 hour days was expected of you. This is becoming optional in a lot of businesses as of late. BestBuy’s experiments with this system has shown about a 35% increase in productivity, and a decrease in turnover rates. Some employees at BestBuy are even working from home, and only go into the office for meetings, which are also optional.

Face it, meetings for the most part are a gigantic waste of time, and usually can be resolved by a simple e-mail, phone call, or a short face-to-face conversation. I suggest reading Kill Meetings to Get More Done at Lifehack.org.

I personally think that this is a system that we are going to see more and more in the workplace. This system empowers employees, and allows them to manage their own time without the feeling that someone is always checking up on them. I hope that I have some of this flexibility when I move into the workforce permanently because I personally work more productively in the morning. By 3pm I’m usually in the mindset to call it quits for the day.

Has your workplace adopted anything like this yet? Is this something you would want to do?

0 thoughts on “ROWE: Results Only Work Environment

  1. I’ve been employed in a few different corporate-type positions, and it really depends on the corporate culture as to whether people actually put in eight hour days. At Maplesoft, for example, people stuck pretty close to normal working hours and didn’t generally take off early. My manager at IBM effectively said “don’t put in any overtime” – if I ended up staying late during crunch times, of which there were only a few, I could take the equivalent amount of time off when things calmed down.

    I have a bit more leniency with respect to hours of work at RIM: it’s sanctioned (and strongly encouraged!) by my boss to leave early if I’ve accomplished everything I need to for the day, and if there are no outstanding items. I generally try and put in a full day’s effort, and I usually feel like I’ve accomplished a goal or milestone by the time I check out.

    With this style of work, however, you’re expected to stay in touch if something breaking appears on the BlackBerry. While you may not be able to DO anything about it until the next day, people want to be reassured that you’re on the case.

    For me, as I’ve mentioned before, quite a bit of my productivity comes from late-night coding sessions. I think a potential employer might recognize this: after all, some of my development work conceived in the wee hours of the morning has direct applications to what I might be doing during the next afternoon. I can safely say that without some of these off-hours ideas, it would take me up to a week to get a handle on some of the more complicated programming concepts.

    I don’t necessarily agree with your standpoint on meetings. I try and work asynchronously, so phone calls and face-to-face conversations are sometimes a huge detractor that can kill half an hour of productive development. Meetings, however, are generally at a scheduled time and can be planned for – I won’t start a complicated encryption module, for example, when I know that I have a meeting in half an hour. Instead, I can use the time to catch up on email.

    In my current role, I regularly attend two scheduled meetings: one by teleconference where I’m merely listening in, and another in-person meeting for hot topics and status reports. Without the second meeting, I’d have no idea how people in my department were *actually* doing on projects. It’s more of the social interaction and nuances of conversation present during this time that make this particular meeting worthwhile.

  2. There are often a few meetings that are worthwhile to regularly attend. However, some are a gigantic waste of time where you just end up going in circles for 2 hours, back and forth.

  3. I work at Best Buy Canadian headquarters and they haven’t implemented this yet, though there’s been talk.

    I really love the idea. However, it requires a certain amount of discipline that most don’t have. I could see it turning into quite the slippery slope. Then again, if we’re all just fucking around and finding random blogs on technorati all day anyway, what’s the difference?

  4. Its a really interesting concept, and works wonderfully in certain situations. However with my job there is a certain time range I have to be here, [7.5 hours prior to when I leave, when I leave has to be after 8:30, and they prefer I start as soon as possible], so it limits any flexibility in my case. But I work an odd job with odd hours because of the nature of what I do.

    As for meetings? Yeah most meetings are a colossal waste of time, but there are a few that do need to happen especially when dealing with development plans. Even more so, is when you’re meeting with people who’s first language is not English, the added communication bonus of a face to face meeting allows for a deeper understanding.

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