A results-only work environment, often shortened to ROWE, may be the secret to supercharging productivity in your office. This management strategy was originally developed by Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson for Best Buy; the two have since formed the CultureRx consulting group to help U.S. businesses transition to a ROWE.
As its name suggests, a ROWE focuses solely on results or output, not time spent at the office. This strategy is a bit different than telecommuting, flex time or working from home in that ROWE employees essentially have free rein to do as they please — so long as they complete their duties capably and in a timely fashion. That means traditional ideas of core hours, vacation time and sick days are all thrown out the window.
Here are five ways instituting a ROWE can boost your team’s productivity.
1. Employees schedule vacations more thoughtfully
Because a ROWE doesn’t require employees to get vacation blocks approved, they’re incentivized to take time off as their workload allows. “When you consider when you can best take vacation as opposed to when you must, you end up able to take time without affecting performance,” said Consumer Marketing vice president Michael Mahoney in an interview with Fast Company.
2. Naturally eliminate unnecessary meetings
In 2005, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that U.S. businesses waste $37 billion annually on unnecessary meetings. Nothing eradicates such meetings faster than in a ROWE, where employees simply won’t show up if a meeting doesn’t help them complete their objectives. Michael Reynolds, president and CEO of SpinWeb, said that making meetings optional forced his team to essentially justify the purpose of and goals for each meeting with a clear agenda, instantly making them more effective.
3. Increased employee engagement and retention
CultureRx reports that its ROWE teams have up to a 90 percent decrease in voluntary turnover rates. Businesses with high turnover rates must constantly expend resources on hiring and training new employees, which hampers efficiency. Engaged employees are not only less likely to leave their jobs, they’re also far more likely to produce good work efficiently and consistently than disengaged workers.
4. Reduced employee stress
Nothing sinks productivity faster than excessive stress. A study published in the December 2011 Journal of Health and Social Behavior found that employees who worked in a ROWE got over an hour extra of sleep each work night and reported less stress, fewer conflicts between work and family, and decreased psychological distress and other emotional signs of burnout. When employees are happy and healthy, they can focus on doing their best work.
5. Forces clear communication
Managers and employees alike must clearly communicate priorities, expectations and objectives to sustain day-to-day business in a results-focused office with optional meetings. Managers must also trust employees to spend their time wisely and outline clear consequences for missed goals or project milestones. These communication measures naturally promote efficiency by eliminating wasted work due to misunderstanding.
A ROWE may not make sense for every industry or business. For many traditional offices, however, this breakthrough model can unlock unparalleled levels of team productivity, employee engagement and organizational efficiency.
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