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5 Ways a ROWE Can Supercharge Office Productivity

5 Ways a ROWE Can Supercharge Office Productivity

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

    (Photo credit: Business meeting in an office via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on August 6, 2020

    Why Working 9 to 5 Is Outdated

    Why Working 9 to 5 Is Outdated

    Bristol is the most congested city in England. Whenever I have to work at the office, I ride there, like most of us do. Furthermore, I always make sure to go at off hours; otherwise, the roads are jam-packed with cars, buses, bikes, even pedestrians. Why is that? Because everyone is working a traditional 9 to 5 work day.

    Where did the “9 to 5” Come From?

    It all started back in 1946. The United States government implemented the 40 hour work week for all federal employees, and all companies adopted the practice afterwards. That’s 67 years with the same schedule. Let’s think about all the things that have changed in the 67 years:

    • We went to the moon, and astronauts now live in space on the ISS.

    • Computers used to take up entire rooms and took hours to make a single calculation. Now we have more powerful computers in our purses and back pockets with our smartphones.

    • Lots of employees can now telecommute to the office from hundreds, and even thousands of miles away.

    In 1946 a 9-5 job made sense because we had time after 5pm for a social life, a family life. Now we’re constantly connected to other people and the office, with the Internet, email on our smartphones, and hashtags in our movies and television shows. There is no downtime anymore.

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    Different Folks, Different Strokes

    Enjoying your downtime is an important part of life. It recharges your batteries and lets you be more productive. Allowing people to balance life and work can provide them with much needed perspective and motivation to see the bigger picture of what they are trying to achieve.

    Some people are just more productive when they’re working at their optimal time of day, after feeling well rested and personally fulfilled.  For some that can be  from 4 a.m. to 9 a.m; for others, it could be  2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

    People have their own rhythms and routines. It would be great if we could sync our work schedule to match. Simply put, the imposed 8-hour work day can be a creativity and morale killer for the average person in today’s world.

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    Productivity and Trust Killer

    Fostering creativity among employees is not always an easy endeavor, but perhaps a good place to start is by simply not tying their tasks and goals to a fixed time period. Let them work on their to-do list at their own pace, and chances are, you’ll get the best out of your employee who feels empowered instead of babysat.

    That’s not to say that you should  allow your team to run wild and do whatever they want, but restricting them to a 9 to 5 time frame can quickly demoralize people. Set parameters and deadlines, and let them work at their own creative best with the understanding that their work is crucial to the functioning of the entire team.

    Margaret Heffernan, an entrepreneur who previously worked in broadcasting, noted to Inc that from her experience, “treating employees like grown-ups made it more likely that they would behave the same way.” The principle here is to have your employees work to get things done, not to just follow the hands on the clock.

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    A Flexible Remote Working Policy

    Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer famously recalled all her remote workers, saying she wanted to improve innovation and collaboration, but was that the right decision? We’ve all said that we’re often more productive in a half day working from home than a full day working in the office, right? So why not let your employees work remotely from home?

    There are definitely varying schools of thought on remote working. Some believe that innovation and collaboration can only happen in a boardroom with markers, whiteboards and post-it notes and of course, this can be true for some. But do a few great brainstorms trump a team that feels a little less stressed and a little more free?

    Those who champion remote working often note that these employees are not counting the clock, worried about getting home, cooking dinner or rushing through errands post-work. No one works their 9-5 straight without breaks here and there.  Allowing some time for remote working means employees can handle some non-work related tasks and feel more accomplished throughout the day. Also, sometimes we all need to have a taste of working in our pajamas, right?

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    It’ll be interesting to see how many traditional companies and industries start giving their employees more freedom with their work schedule. And how many end up rescinding their policies like Yahoo did.

    What are your thoughts of the traditional 9-5 schedule and what are you doing to help foster your team’s productivity and creativity? Hit the comments and let us know.

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