ROWE is awesome. We all believe in ROWE. All meetings are optional.
Except everyone has to attend the bi-monthly two hour update meeting.
But aside from that, ROWE is great. You can work anywhere.
Except that our online meeting software sucks, and this is an important meeting, so you really need to be on-site for it. (There are meetings for which we don’t care about the quality of the online meeting software? Why are we having those meetings?)
Other than that, you can work anywhere, at any time as long as the work gets done.
Except for core hours. You must work core hours.
The invention of flex-time brought with it the dawn of a new era in the workplace. An age of freedom and flexibility, resulting in unprecedented happiness and fulfillment. Certainly flex-time went a long way in eliminating grumpiness in our coworkers. Right?
For those of you still working in the Dark Ages of precisely prescribed starting and quitting times, here is a brief description of the golden age of “flex-time”. (Try not to weep over what you are missing.)
Flex-time is when my boss flexibly leaves at 3:30pm for a round of golf with her fellow bosses, on the day when I need her final approval of presentation materials I just finished at 4:00pm for tomorrow’s meeting.
Not to worry, I determine to make use of flex-time myself. I arrive the next day at 7:00am to finish preparing and printing the handouts for the 9:30am presentation, only to discover the person with access to the printer supplies for the out-of-ink printer won’t flexibly arrive until 9:00am.
When Mr. Printer Supply Person finally arrives at 9:15am (darn that traffic!), I don’t see any dark circles under his eyes, and he seems very well rested and cheery. But regretfully (so he says) he cannot help me because he’s already 15 minutes late for the Printer Supplies Department’s weekly staff meeting.
Though my meeting presentation was a bust, behold! All is not lost! Because I arrived at 7:00am, flex-time allows me to leave at 3:30pm today. I think I will get in a round of golf myself before dinner.
That is, until my boss trumps flexibility, and schedules a meeting at 4:00pm to discuss why my presentation didn’t have handouts. Gotta love this flex-time invention!
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:
- Often, there isn’t much agreement on what results are. Driven employees will hit home runs that management won’t even understand.
- It’s so much more convenient to clock watch employees 8 to 5.
- 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.
- How the heck can you have a 3 hour, 120 person meeting if not everyone is working 8 to 5?