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I was reading recently about a new phenomena that I think has arrived just at the right time to save America and American employment. It would involve a large transition to a new method of thinking and working but wouldn’t take too much effort to implement. Granted there are a few places that wouldn’t be able to institute this type of work practice, but I am referring to the majority of offices and jobs that can, should do it. So let’s get down to the nitty gritty:

ROWE – What does it mean?

Results Oriented Work Environment.

Who created it?

The idea was the brain child of Jody Thompson and Cali Ressler.

Can you just summarize what it means? Can you give me the jist of it so I can get on with my life?

In plain terms, ROWE means that you are paid based on your performance,  your outputs at work rather then the number of hours worked. You are basically given carte blanche to do what you please provided that your job gets done.

Wow that sounds like a load of wishful thinking, can you name some of the good and bad thingys??

Well obviously the idea that you’d set your own work hours, schedules and calendar should be very appealing and create an environment where employees do not want to leave but are happier and more productive because they are using their energy towards getting their job done at their most productive moments. Granted in some industries and job sectors (like a secretary or boss), the measurement of performance can be tough to prove. If you are a manager used to bothering people constantly you might find the hands off approach destroys your ability to micromanage your employees. Some people who are in sectors that require time dependant staffing (call centers) might not be able to implement 100% ROWE but could benefit by doing a 1 day a week rotation of ROWE to allow them time to get whatever they want done, provided you (as manager) do not interrupt that time.

What ROWE is not..

It is not some kind of work sharing, flextime, telecommuting crap. It is a basic, no barrier method of work-worker relationship and should not be modified into a haphazard mix of other ideas/plans.  It is not a method of forcing work, nor is it a way to better manage work. It is in effect the nullification of management and control for companies who want to create a higher level of self control and interest among its’ workforce.

Why is ROWE going to save American industry and work?

America is a nation stuck in a hierarchy for management. Ordered systems do not function well in industries of the future. Most new jobs that will be created here are those of the creative types. Be it in the sciences, research, engineering, art, literacy… all will involve the higher order process of creation rather then production. These will not be the jobs of the factory workers, these will be the jobs that create the factories and the machines to do the work. As America, and then later the rest of the world continues to industrialize, we will get better at creating the things to save us from doing more and more trivial things (like shoemaking) and we will look for other problems to solve (like medicines, robotics, logistics, increases in automation). To solve complex problems, we need time to think independently and reach in depth conclusions. That type of job can only be accomplished by giving someone the maximum amount of freedom to work when they work best. Since we don’t know when a person is in their creative stage, we can not plan their hours for it. The only way to get them to work in their best states is to allow them the liberty to self regulate and determine their periods of maximum output. Since output might vary from hour to hour or day to day, we can’t set their workday or even work moments, it is all them.

I encourage you to read up on ROWE, and if you think that a part of it is able to be started in your workplace, to try it out temporarily.

The people who came up with ROWE have their own website below, visit it and read more about it.

The link below is a 20 minute audio broadcast about ROWE and if you want more info and a great summary, listen to it:


Written by Josecito

March 24, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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