In 2006 Business Week magazine published an article entitled, “Smashing the Clock.” The article detailed electronics retailer Best Buy and a new work environment they were promoting – Results Only Work Environment (ROWE). The basic premise is companies and workers are tied to a old mind set of a forty hour work week. The mind set is wrong. Companies actually want specific amount of work out of each worker and the number of hours is just an artificial hold over from assembly lines. ROWE says that as long as you get your work done; it doesn’t matter how, when or how long it takes.

On the surface this seems like a very elegant statement. Companies pay for results and employees deliver results.In turn, companies give workers the freedom to do their job in the way that works best for them. As long as the results are delivered every one is happy.

I think the difficulty with ROWE is in the implementation. Cali Ressler and Jodi Thompson have written an book about the program called “Why Work Sucks.” The book discusses some of the mental roadblocks to a ROWE mindset but is light on important issues like setting the “outcomes” for the first time and how to avoid being given too much work. The two authors left Best Buy and created their own consulting firm that sells implementation kits.

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