Last Updated Oct 1, 2008 12:00 PM EDT
- The Find: Implementing a Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) philosophy at your company may necessitate not only a change of mindset but also a change of floor plan.
- The Source: An interview with Gijs Nooteboom of the consulting firm Veldhoen + Company and the man behind the new headquarters of Interpolis insurance in the Netherlands, featured in the blog of Tim Ferris, of The 4-Hour Workweek fame.
No offices? No need, says Nooteboom. He explains that the idea is based on the principle that "every human being anywhere and at any time of day can work." Location, Nooteboom feels, is overrated. "You don't have to come into the office daily." Individual work can be done at home, at your client's location or even on the beach.
Still Nootebooom concedes that the traditional bricks and mortar office will continue to play a role even in this brave, new future, recommending workers come in one or two days a week for "social cohesion." He also concedes that this new model can present challenges for managers who can no longer simply peek over the cubicle wall to see if their team is being productive and notes that implementing ROWE means more training for those charged with administrating teams. The office of the future certainly require also requires state-of-the-art technology.
Nooteboom, though, is sure he has designed the work space of the future and insists ROWE isn't just flash in the pan:
In ten to 20 years a very large proportion of the working environments will be differently organized. One reason being globalization: If you are in contact with Asia or the United States one has to work either early in the morning or late evening. The concept of the office is basically old-fashioned, but we still need it. It will be used almost solely for meetings in the future. More and more companies will let their employees work from the home or while traveling.That's a future, I imagine, many workers are looking forward to. The interview is an excerpt of a German language book, Morgen komm ich spÃ¤ter rein by Markus Albers. Roughly translated that's: I'll be coming in later tomorrow.
The Question: Would you like to manage a team in such a space and under such a philosophy, or would the drawbacks outweigh the rewards?