Over the last few weeks there has been a great deal of press coverage concerning the remote employee. The remote working arrangement meets specific needs of highly trained talent who need the ability to determine their work hours, allowing employers to recruit the best talent. With the rapid development of extremely fast and reliable mobile technology, remote employees are everywhere.
For companies that see the extreme competitive nature for talent on the horizon due to lower American birth rates coupled with mobile tech innovation, the office is becoming optional while the work is not. That is why the recent actions of two business leaders is very confusing.
Marissa Mayer, the new CEO of Yahoo, seemed to forget she was the leader of a worldwide high-tech company. Her human resource department sent a letter to all remote Yahoos stating they must physically report to one of their worldwide offices by June.
A few days later, Best Buy’s new CEO joined the 1950’s workplace by eliminating their Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE). According to ROWE co-creators Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson, who started the successful remote working system at Best Buy, ROWE is a people strategy where employees are evaluated on performance, not presence.
According to Ressler and Thompson, a ROWE is focused on results, and only results. “This approach to people strategy increases the organization’s performance while cultivating the right environment for people to manage all the demands in their lives, including work.”
Properly implemented ROWE’s have been extremely successful for companies. Here’s why:
7 Reasons CEO’s Should Go ROWE
#1 – Significant Productivity Increases – ROWE has proven to increase productivity as much as 40%. In case you didn’t think you read that correctly, I will repeat. When you fully implement ROWE, productivity may increase up to 40% over current levels. Give me a good reason why a competent business leader would not consider implementing ROWE?
#2 – Attract the Best Talent – Today’s best talent values both their personal and work lives, and are not willing to sacrifice their personal life for their career. Many of their parents laid their life down at the altar of corporate promises and it cost them dearly. The new way to work, if implemented, will quickly brand your business as an employer of choice.
#3 – Office Cubicles Are Torture Boxes – People were not born to work inside a small cube eight to ten hours each day. In 1996, Fortune Magazine’s Julie Schlosser wisely wrote, “Robert Oppenheimer agonized over building the A-bomb. Alfred Nobel got queasy about creating dynamite. Robert Propst (creator of the cubicle) invented nothing so destructive. Yet before he died in 2000, he lamented his unwitting contribution to what he called ‘monolithic insanity.'” Schlosser goes on to state that Propst unleashed the cubicle on the world in 1968 and employees are still trying to escape.
#4 – Work is What You Do, Not Where You Go – In today’s technological environment, most employees can work anytime and anywhere, so long as they complete their work accurately and on time. If leaders cannot trust their employees to produce results, either they have the wrong people or company leaders have trust issues. Everyone wins when people are granted freedom.
#5 – Commuting Time – Commuting time is converted into productive time. Due to suburban sprawl and the resulting traffic congestion, many employees living in large cities spend as much as two hours each way driving to work. This is wasted time and expense employees never get back.
#6 – Nowhere to Hide – The ROWE model quickly identifies the employees who are not delivering results. ROWE also uncovers supervisors who; 1) do not provide clear goals and priorities, and 2) fail to plan ahead. Supervisors who thrive on manufactured fire drills will not survive in a ROWE. Although people in a ROWE system can quickly address actual emergencies, daily fire drills will need to be extinguished.
#7 – The 24/7 Generation – ROWE is the 21st Century’s answer for the current 24/7 mobile workforce. We are not a 9 to 5 generation anymore. Those days are gone. We are a 24/7 generation. Employees should be allowed to decide how they slice up their 24, whether it’s for family, hobbies, exercise or work. Results improve and productivity improves. Employees are more satisfied. Sometimes leaders must let go of their quest for power and control in order to achieve the results the company needs.
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