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Results Only Work Environment
This article introduces a newer concept in the workplace, where employers aim for productivity and results instead of actual hours put in at the office.

Home » People & Culture » Results Only Work Environment

Results Only Work Environment

This article introduces a newer concept in the workplace, where employers aim for productivity and results instead of actual hours put in at the office.
The workplace is changing as many companies are making strides in their philosophies, company culture, and work-life balance initiatives. Gap Outlet, a division of Gap Inc., revolutionized the workplace of their corporate headquarters by implementing a Results only Work Environment (ROWE)—a management technique in which employees have the freedom to decide what to work on and when to do so.

By giving employees control of their careers, they will ideally be happier and more productive. This philosophy combats how many managers reward employees—by how much time they put in at the office—and encourages rewarding only results.

 

 

Types of Benefits

Under this business model, employees and employers have the following benefits:

 

  • Employees can fulfill their duties when they want, as long as they get done. Employees feel more in control of their professional and personal lives.
  • Unlimited paid vacation
  • Employees are less likely to be overworked or stressed on the job.
  • No schedules, mandatory meetings, or judgments from others about how and when employees spend their time working. Elimination of wasteful processes is often seen as busy work by employees.
  • Management trusts employees to get their work done without telling them when, where or how it happens. Employees are judged based on how much they accomplish and how successful they are at meeting goals.
  • It’s environmentally friendly, as working from home can save on electricity used at the workplace and eliminates the commute.
  • Due to its appeal, ROWE can be used as a recruitment and retention technique.

 

For example, a Gap Outlet employee may complete an entire month of work in two weeks, so he can devote those other two weeks to traveling with his family. Another employee may log in from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and then pick up where she left off at 8 p.m.

This system is effective only if management and employees know job descriptions and expectations clearly. In addition, employees must learn how to communicate, plan around each other’s schedules and pick up additional responsibilities when co-workers take time off.

This new management philosophy is not a realistic option for all professions. For instance, it is ineffective in the service industry, where employees must be present to fulfill their duties. A results only work environment also does not work well for professionals who operate on external schedules, like stockbrokers who must work when the market is open. Most importantly, this system will be ineffective for those who do not have a firm grasp on their time-management skills, are not self-disciplined, or cannot stay focused away from the office.

 

 

Implementing a Results Only Work Environment

To implement ROWE at your organization, remember the following:

 

  • Make meetings optional for employees by allowing them the freedom to decide if they should participate. If they can use company time better, they should do so.
  • Do not judge how employees segment their work hours.
  • Reward employees based on their performance, not how much time they are in the office.
  • Do not dictate what work-life balance strategies employees should implement; let them decide what schedule works best for them and their families.
  • Do not allow only some employees to have flexible schedules; it must be offered to all employees who can still fulfill their duties with a ROWE-type schedule.
  • Do not use fake crises to manage employees, such as dropping in last-minute requests on employees. This creates a false sense of urgency and tends to waste their time.
  • Communicate performance goals to employees and hold them accountable for meeting these benchmarks. When employees are not performing at a high level, talk to them immediately and find out why.
  • Trust your employees as you trust your abilities. Do not instate unnecessary rules for those who may not live up to your expectations.

 

 

Legal Concerns

A results only work environment can be complicated when applied to nonexempt (hourly) employees. Federal and many state laws require that hourly employees log their time to receive overtime pay, if necessary. Nonexempt employees who work for a company that uses the ROWE philosophy will have the freedom to set their hours but still have to track them to be paid.

The workplace is changing as many companies are making strides in their philosophies, company culture, and work-life balance initiatives. Gap Outlet, a division of Gap Inc., revolutionized the workplace of their corporate headquarters by implementing a Results only Work Environment (ROWE)—a management technique in which employees have the freedom to decide what to work on and when to do so.

By giving employees control of their careers, they will ideally be happier and more productive. This philosophy combats how many managers reward employees—by how much time they put in at the office—and encourages rewarding only results.

 

 

Types of Benefits

Under this business model, employees and employers have the following benefits:

 

  • Employees can fulfill their duties when they want, as long as they get done. Employees feel more in control of their professional and personal lives.
  • Unlimited paid vacation
  • Employees are less likely to be overworked or stressed on the job.
  • No schedules, mandatory meetings, or judgments from others about how and when employees spend their time working. Elimination of wasteful processes is often seen as busy work by employees.
  • Management trusts employees to get their work done without telling them when, where or how it happens. Employees are judged based on how much they accomplish and how successful they are at meeting goals.
  • It’s environmentally friendly, as working from home can save on electricity used at the workplace and eliminates the commute.
  • Due to its appeal, ROWE can be used as a recruitment and retention technique.

 

For example, a Gap Outlet employee may complete an entire month of work in two weeks, so he can devote those other two weeks to traveling with his family. Another employee may log in from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and then pick up where she left off at 8 p.m.

This system is effective only if management and employees know job descriptions and expectations clearly. In addition, employees must learn how to communicate, plan around each other’s schedules and pick up additional responsibilities when co-workers take time off.

This new management philosophy is not a realistic option for all professions. For instance, it is ineffective in the service industry, where employees must be present to fulfill their duties. A results only work environment also does not work well for professionals who operate on external schedules, like stockbrokers who must work when the market is open. Most importantly, this system will be ineffective for those who do not have a firm grasp on their time-management skills, are not self-disciplined, or cannot stay focused away from the office.

 

 

Implementing a Results Only Work Environment

To implement ROWE at your organization, remember the following:

 

  • Make meetings optional for employees by allowing them the freedom to decide if they should participate. If they can use company time better, they should do so.
  • Do not judge how employees segment their work hours.
  • Reward employees based on their performance, not how much time they are in the office.
  • Do not dictate what work-life balance strategies employees should implement; let them decide what schedule works best for them and their families.
  • Do not allow only some employees to have flexible schedules; it must be offered to all employees who can still fulfill their duties with a ROWE-type schedule.
  • Do not use fake crises to manage employees, such as dropping in last-minute requests on employees. This creates a false sense of urgency and tends to waste their time.
  • Communicate performance goals to employees and hold them accountable for meeting these benchmarks. When employees are not performing at a high level, talk to them immediately and find out why.
  • Trust your employees as you trust your abilities. Do not instate unnecessary rules for those who may not live up to your expectations.

 

 

Legal Concerns

A results only work environment can be complicated when applied to nonexempt (hourly) employees. Federal and many state laws require that hourly employees log their time to receive overtime pay, if necessary. Nonexempt employees who work for a company that uses the ROWE philosophy will have the freedom to set their hours but still have to track them to be paid.

The Last Word

A results only work environment is outside the norm of how most companies manage their employees. There are a number of benefits to it and is more geared toward today’s workforce, although it may not be appropriate for every situation. Contact an InsureGood Advisor for more resources around people and culture.

Additional Resources

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