WARNING: This blog post may hit you in the feels.
Discussions about ROWE can get sticky. Deeply held beliefs about how work “should” happen and the fear of losing control can make this kind of adaptive change….challenging. For this post, let’s look at something else that also drives resistance: The socialization of the workplace.
For the record, we at CultureRx love people, enjoy personal relationships, AND….recognize that work needs to be about the work (results). ROWE does not dehumanize the work environment, it strengthens connection. Think about it. When everyone has 100% autonomy, trust is at the core of the relationship. When everyone is 100% accountable, objective performance takes precedence over subjective preferences.
In the context of work, the work must be clearly defined. This includes clearly explained and understood objectives (scope and timeliness) and having established, appropriate metrics. In a ROWE, that is the starting point, the focus, and the driver of all business decisions. Funny shirt days, potlucks, bring your whatever to work days, and the cherished donut days are all forced fun activities and do nothing for clarifying the work, discovering efficiencies/effectiveness, maximizing energy/effort for productivity, or establishing an objective, metric supported understanding of results.
Make work about the work. If people want/need socialization, they can decide when, where, and how to go about it. Maybe people meet in a conference room. Maybe they meet at a cafe or pub. Maybe they meet virtually. Maybe they don’t meet at all. Maybe people develop personal relationships with coworkers. Maybe they don’t and choose to enjoy the friends and family already in their lives. Maybe they will do their work and live their life however they choose!
If you want to have a pizza party, have one. If you want a trusted workforce focused on delivering successful results, GoROWE!