Result Only Work Environment (ROWE)
Have you ever heard about Result Only Work Environment (ROWE)? A concept developed by Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson which they publish in their book Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It: The Results-Only Revolution.
Result Only Work Environment (ROWE) is key for virtual teams and companies
The trend of virtual companies and global teams is unstoppable. More and more companies allow their teams to work at least partly from home or remotely and more employees are looking for a work environment which fits with personal circumstances. There are already companies which are completely working remotely, without any fixed offices.
A mayor concern for allowing virtual or remote teams within a company is the felt lack of control over the employees work. Yesterday, we talked about the impact of the fourth Industrial Revolution on jobs and its impact on how work relationships will be changing. Almost every job which focuses on completing parts of a procedure or providing customer service will be replaced over time. Thus, the measurement of outputs and efficiency of workers becomes more complicated. What happen, when you cannot count the number of pieces produced, packages delivered, requests handled as an output anymore?
Part of the problem of how companies are operating is that we still manage people the way we did in the Industrial Revolution, like when people were working on an assembly line: if they see you, they think you’re being productive. This is the basis for Result Only Work Environment (ROWE). It is basically a human resource management strategy where employees are paid for results (outputs) rather than the number of hours worked.
When working in a virtual team or company, the need for a result-oriented attitude becomes clear. There are some key elements which are important when working remotely, such as maintaining a close communication and information flow through daily huddles. But in addition to the value of communication, they work as well as a structured check-in on whether people are busy and around. Nevertheless, working in a virtual team requires a lot of trust and a Result Only Work Environment (ROWE) attitude.
Experiences with Result Only Work Environment (ROWE)
The Washington Post published an article in 2010 about President Obama trying to restructure the way public services works by applying the ROWE concept. The key idea behind ROWE is that employees can work whenever and wherever they want as long as the work gets done. Thus, job performance is solely measured by whether the job has been done. It gives employees the control over their lives and a perfect way to bring personal and job requirements together.
Some studies on the impact of ROWE has identified the following key benefits:
- Increased employees’ control over their work schedule and improved work–life fit
- Reduced work-family conflict and negative work-family spillover
- Positive effect on employees’ sleep duration, energy levels, self-reported health, and exercise
- Reduced turnover
- Increased job satisfaction and organizational commitment
However, there are certain things, which are not changing through the implementation of a Result Only Work Environment:
- Positive and negative home-to-work spillover
- Family-to-work conflict
- Overall assessment of health
- Well-being scale
- Psychosocial job demands scale
- Job control scale (decision authority, skill discretion)
- Job involvement scale
- Satisfaction with coworkers and managers
- Work engagement scale
- Psychological distress
- Emotional exhaustion
There are actually as well a number of experiences of companies who started implementing a result oriented work environment but stopped doing so after they gained more experience. The most prominent case may be the experience of Best Buy which in 2013 changed its attitude towards flexible work. The key argument was the lack of collaboration and connection between employees which helped the company to improve its operation. The importance of the water cooler talks for improving businesses is a key concern of implementing virtual teams.
That’s why, at TroopTravel, we believe in the trend of more people working remotely but at the same time the importance of face-to-face interactions. The trend will create more teams working remotely and more targeted in-person meetings. Concepts like the Result Only Work Environment (ROWE) will help companies to find ways on how to measure the impact of people’s work when they are not visible.