One of the most exciting ideas out about ways to develop highly motivating, productive, and enjoyable work is “ROWE“. That stands for Results-Only Work Environment, an idea that was developed and then made accessible by Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson via their highly readable and successful book, Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It.
In a ROWE environment, they say, “people can do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as the work gets done”. That sounds revolutionary doesn’t it? No more mandatory arrive-at-the-same–location-at-8:00 a.m.-depart-at-5:00 p.m. work policies. No more managing by walking around, unless it’s virtually (no one might even be there….). If you go to their website or read the book you’ll see all sort of examples and statistics which show that productivity goes up, voluntary turnover goes down, job satisfaction up – in short, every indicator seems to be going in the right direction. (Whew! Managers can start rejoicing at the great results, right, along with their employees who will be dancing in the aisles. Well, maybe – there might not actually be any aisles – or halls – where the workforce hangs out if your organization goes ROWE, eh?).
In one sense, there’s nothing all that novel about ROWE is there? Farmers, craftspeople, professionals, small business owners and many, many others over the decades and centuries have had “getting the work done” as the main priority, and for folks like that the time, place, and activity is determined by the work itself. Not some organizational policy meant to keep everyone showing up at the same time and place whether it makes sense or not. What Jody and Cali have done is move the concept to the larger workforce, and they have good examples showing how that can be done.
We had the good fortune to spend some time with and to interview Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It co-author Jody Thompson. She was gracious with her time – she and Cali are in much demand these days – and is obviously passionate about ROWE and what it can do for organizations and workers. Listen to our interview with her here.
Let us know what you think. Do you think it would make sense to Go ROWE at your workplace? What would hold you back? What could help make it happen? Are there better ways to get the work done in your work environment?