We read LOTS of articles and blog posts about flexibility and different management styles. We also read, with sage burning and sitting in mountain pose, the articles and blog posts that misrepresent ROWE. So as often as we can muster, we read, we cringe, we try to bring clarity and real change to the world of work.
This article, “Crank ’em In, Crank ’em Out” got our whole team chatting. Well, first there was some all caps texting…and then, we dug in.
“Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE), a concept now about 13 years old, allowed flexible hours and more working from home, and fewer sick time absences could be granted while employees were home.”
Inaccurate on so many levels. ROWE is a focus on results. Period. “What needs to be done to achieve results?” is a central question of all discussions. The only acceptable answers are those that are objective and can be accurately measured. ROWE is NOT a remote-only work environment. It’s not permission based, it’s performance driven.
“ROWE doesn’t work in all business models.”
This is a fundamental stumbling block for so many people. Because ROWE is adaptive change, individuals need to unlearn and re-think work. This requires grappling with deeply held beliefs about they way work should happen. ROWE is for all employees in all industries because it is an objective focus on achieving results. Every employee has 100% autonomy over how, when, and where they work AND 100% accountability to deliver results. The work informs decisions - not belief systems.
The article discusses productivity and efficiency, employee competition and compensation, as well as recognition and stress levels. ROWE gets to the heart of all of those experiences. It begins with understanding clearly defined objectives and customer/client needs. If the work is not clearly defined and understood, the path to success is muddled and chaotic. If there are no appropriate metrics in place, the path to success cannot be measured, course corrected, or rewarded. That uncertainty compounded by the “everything is a fire drill” mentality is what leads to feelings of frustration, stress, and burnout.
ROWE was not only implemented in resident care facilities (round the clock medical institutions), but that implementation was also thoroughly researched. You can read all about it here.
Creating a culture of success is all about investing in a contemporary management model that insures your human capital is engaged, motivated and focused on what matters to the business. Not how many hours they work, how much effort they put in, or how well they play the game. The new currency of work is measurable results. Period.
ROWE is not flextime. It’s not allowing some people to work from home. It rejects labels like ‘flex worker, remote worker, teleworker’. Work location and work time are irrelevant to the conversation about … you guessed it. THE WORK.