Last Updated Jun 12, 2008 1:32 PM EDT
The idea is that people can basically do anything they want -- work from home, work two hours instead of eight, nap, take a yoga class, whatever -- as long as the work gets done.
I'm sort of an informal ROWE-er myself, I guess; I don't keep set office hours and am as likely to be writing this blog in a coffee shop as I am to be typing at my desk. Of course, as a self-employed, independent contractor, my boss is pretty understanding. But would I be as supportive of this concept if I were managing twelve people?
It might be more like herding cats than directing a team: Sue is working a short day today, Tom is BlackBerrying from the beach, Rick is working a night shift and Lisa is taking a three-hour lunch. As their leader, how do you make sure everyone is contributing? How do you measure a project's progress?
Then again, this is a methodology employed by Best Buy, and from 2005 to 2007 the company's turnover rate went down nearly 90 percent and productivity rose 41 percent in ROWE departments. That's pretty impressive.
A New York Times article about wasting time at work said both output and job satisfaction have jumped wherever ROWE is tried. A 2005 Microsoft study said workers average only three productive days (out of five) a week, so it's not like they're efficiency machines when they're working in a normal situation. And from an employee's perspective, what's not to like? I can see how your job would suddenly seem a lot more fun if an afternoon viewing of the new Indiana Jones flick was part of your day.
I want to hear what you think, so chime in!