Results Only Work Environment, What Does That Mean?

ROWE, short for Results Only Work Environment, allows each person to do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as the work gets done. How does a ROWE company operate?

Perhaps it’s time to let go of the old rules that govern a work environment; 9-to-5 hours, face time and endless meetings. These old rules can be replaced by one rule: output is more important than anything else, focus on results.

ROWE and the 4-hour work week

As discussed in an earlier article, the 4 Hour Work Week helps people understand that, because of technology, people don’t have to defer living until retirement. You can design your own lifestyle. Now image for a moment what would happen if the entire workplace culture went through that same transformation. That is what a Results Only Work Environment is all about, it’s about taking control of your life. You are free as long as you get the job done.

The most important question for a ROWE company is not “where is everybody?” but “Is the work getting done?”. In today’s businesses there is not enough emphasis on output or results, it’s more about the amount of hours you are present.

Best Buy and ROWE

A prime example of a ROWE company is Best Buy, which became a ROWE in 2005. Unfortunately under the rule of Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly Best Buy stopped being a ROWE in 2013. Nonetheless the results were rather amazing. Voluntary turnover rates (people quitting) have dropped almost 90%. And productivity has grown exponentially, ROWE teams did show an average increase in productivity of 41%.

And ROWE has transformed people’s lives. There are stories about people being able to be better parents (or become parents in the first place), get in shape or give back to their community. By focussing on results, instead of time, it’s a win-win for both employees and managers.

Results Only Work Environment examples

The increased popularity of Results Only Work Enviroments can be found in the number of companies implementing it. Companies like GAP Inc., SpinWeb, Dixie Iron Works, Minnesota Department of Transportation and Yum!Brands have al turned ROWE. And more recently Sweden has introduced the 6-hour work day, in order for increase employee productivity.

What is your take on Results Only Work Enviroments? Would it help you improve your personal productivity?

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