ROWE, ROWE, ROWE your boat.

I’ve heard a lot of buzz about Results Only Work Environments [ROWE], particularly from the book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (Amazon link).

I was curious about finding a naysayer and found Why I Don’t Like Rowe | Renegade HR.  The article points out ethics, some worker’s need for structure, and communication/morale/culture challenges of working remotely.

I thought of an even bigger challenges–loosely related to structure:

  1. Often, there isn’t much agreement on what results are.  Driven employees will hit home runs that management won’t even understand.
  2. It’s so much more convenient to clock watch employees 8 to 5.
  3. Those same clock watchers would rather judge productivity by seeing that more than 40 hours in a week are logged by everyone than try to figure out if more than 1 hour per week of actual work was done.
  4. How the heck can you have a 3 hour, 120 person meeting if not everyone is working 8 to 5?
  • Thanks for the shout out, dude!

    As for that three hour meeting – I’d say that’s about two hours and 45 minutes too long.

  • Easy enough…Would they somehow be at a disadvantage if they weren’t at the meeting? If it’s a critical meeting, they’ll show up. If it’s not, they won’t. Should it be any other way?

  • John Casey

    I wouldn’t peg your dreams on ROWE just yet, you would not believe the number of managers/companies who are holding on to the traditional 40 hour work week. I am a contract programmer and had the pleasure of working on a few consecutive projects with managers who as a result of project workload, probably unknowingly, adopted ROWE with me. On my last contract, things started out the same, spend the first month or two proving myself and then slowly adopt ROWE. Everything went as planned, my manager often remarked that I exceeded his expectations, joked how I got things done too fast and that we still needed stuff to do next year. I met all deadlines and was below budget for the first year. My contract was extended another year and that was when things changed. My manager became concerned at the optics of my flexible schedule regardless of my productivity. These people wouldn’t have time too look around if they were actually doing their job like I was, but I digress. I was once again chained to 40 hours.

    For the 4 years I had the ROWE contracts, life was blissful. I am not sure if ROWE is for everyone, but for someone with a strong work ethic and who loves what they do, it is perfection. The dramatic effect on your life revolving work around life vs life around work can not accurately be described to anyone who has not experienced it. I was happier than I had every been and I had accomplished more and better quality work than I had ever before. I firmly believe the 9-5 work environment is responsible for many heart attacks and stress in people’s lives. I’d wake up when I wanted, slowly sip a coffee, in the summer I’d take a dip in my pool and then perhaps start working, relaxed and refreshed. I never layed in bed frantically trying to get to sleep because I had to wake up at a certain time. If I couldn’t sleep, I’d work or do something else until I was tired. I was never bored. When I was tired, I slept. When I wanted to spend time with my family, I did. When I wanted to relax, I did. The rest of the time I worked. It was perfection. I gladly gave 110% and busted my ass for the company who gave me this lifestyle.

    In addition to the aforementioned health benefits ROWE offers, it also offers several others including reduced traffic and pollution as people would opt to work from home offices more. The final big benefit ROWE offers is the answer to an issue that plagues everyone, most modern countries today and has dominated the news in the US. As I mentioned before I love what I do and during those 4 years, whenever the topic of retirement came up, I would think, why? Barring any medical condition that would stop me from programming, I could see myself living this life happily every day until the day I put my foot in the grave. Granted once the kids left the nest and life’s expenses were less, I may reduce my workload, but I wouldn’t want to stop all together. Most people spend 50 years working towards retirement when they can finally live life. I was spending every day putting life first and the only trade off was doing a good job and getting results. Happier, stress free, healthier employees, who perhaps engage in more preventative health measures, reduces healthcare costs. Less traffic and pollution, reduces costs and health care associated with these issues. Finally, at least in part, a solution to the ever increasing retirement cost issues. I am not a religious man, but if ROWE were a religion, I’d join.