ROWE the Boat or Rock the Boat

The second article about work environments I recently noticed, see my
previous post for the first, is

Of course when learning about policy reversal it is always good to
back and remember why the policy being reverssed was implemented to
begin with. Fortunately the internet does not always forget and I
found this.

After a little searching of related articles regarding Yahoo and Best
Buy abandoning ROWE. I found this interesting article.

In this article are two lists. First is the shiny side of the coin,
the attractive part of the double speak we who have worked in
corporate America are so familiar. This list is all about how close
interaction and sharing of office resources promotes collaboration,
efficiency and synergy. You can contrast this with the earlier blog of
why ROWE is beneficial which promoted 90% retention and 41% increased
productivity due to efficiency, motivation and goal focus that comes
with work schedule flexibility that is based on results instead of

The second list in the latter article is the other side, sometimes
called the real reasons. It talks about gaining control, sacrifices,
belt-tightening and how to get employees to voluntarily choose work
over there health, families and recreation.

My least favorite part is when the policy change is justified by
comparison to the big 3. Lets all do what Google, Facebook and Apple
do because afterall we want to be innovators too. Reminds me of a joke
about teenagers and how they follow the latest trend in dress or
behavour in order to demonstrate their individuality. Just like
everyone else.

One comment

  1. Hi Martin,
    Love the blog, and the topics.
    Another thing that’s farcical about trying to follow the big 3, is that these followers never quite have the philosophical, and budgetary, commitments to change to a very different life/work culture. They want all the perceived benefits of organizing their workforce a certain way, without making the investments required to achieve those goals. For instance, Google, Facebook, etc… are famous for having incredible perks for their employees (to keep them at work and focused on work). Google and it’s gourmet, free, cafeterias, on-site day-care, dry cleaning, wifi commuter buses, generous maternity/paternity leave, etc… Families are encouraged to come on-site for dinner, lunch, etc… I even heard of one company (I think it was Facebook), that provides paid house cleaning service for all its employees. The rational being that life/work balance has itself become a farce, and instead these companies have decided on a very different approach, which is to focus on better life/work integration. If you can make aspects of your employees lives easier (i.e. commuting, chores), then maybe they’ll be happier, more motivated employees. I think it has yet to be seen if this approach works. Some data from Google suggests their longer, more flexible, paid maternity/paternity leave has helped with retention, and overall reduced their costs of attrition (in this specific area). Ultimately that’s what it’s always going to be about, the bottom-line, and why employees rightfully should remain skeptical of any policies that are couched as somehow improving their situation. I believe the smartest companies will (and have) recognized mutually beneficial policies require investments, and longer-term goals. I think in many instances the followers fail to grasp this and are looking for quick fixes.

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