Photo from Office Space
What if I told you there was a world where you didn't have to come in to work at 9:00 am, and you could leave whenever you wanted? What if I told you that all meetings were optional and you never had to wait in rush hour again?
You'd probably assume I was talking about some made up lifestyle that you only hear about on those annoying "I quit my 9-5 job to chase my dreams 💕💕💕🌈🌈" Instagram accounts.
Two things you should know:
1. This is real.
2. This exists in lucrative career paths, where you can experience a work/life balance you get to control, without having to drop everything and create your own dumb t-shirt company.
I'm talking about a concept called ROWE™.
This means that you're evaluated based on your results only, and not the amount of time you spend at your job.
BUT WAIT I'M A BOSS AND MY EMPLOYEES ARE GOING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ME AND THERE WILL BE CHAOS.
Relax, Jim. The only thing you're going to get out of this is more productivity, and happier more fulfilled employees. And if this concept is harder for you to grasp than the big fat Cuban you smoke every Sunday, we've got the creator of ROWE, Jody Thompson, here to help break it down for ya.
"Most people are very open to a ROWE – but the challenge lies primarily with leadership," Jody explains. "In a ROWE, leaders and managers are not controlling people’s work location, or work time. They are controlling the work. They have to get crystal clear with every single person what their measurable results are. This is hard work – and requires a shift in mindset, and giving up deeply held beliefs about work such as ‘people who are at work are working’ and ‘the best relationships are built face to face’. Giving up control of people based on outdated orthodoxies isn’t what most leaders want to sign up for – it’s easier to stay in their comfort zone – even in the face of empirical data and real evidence that a ROWE increases productivity, engagement and motivation."
"The biggest challenge (with a traditional work environment) was having my work location pre-determined for me, and managers who based my value to the organization on how much time or effort I appeared to be putting in – without any regard to getting clear with me about actual measurable performance," Jody tells us. "In a ROWE, each person is 100% autonomous (self-governing and independent) and 100% accountable to real, measurable outcomes, and can use their common sense to make the right decisions every day in order to reach their outcomes in the most effective/efficient manner. It’s ludicrous to spend two hours in rush traffic to go to a cube in an office building when location often time is irrelevant to achieving results."
But even if your job isn't the greatest, they still might offer that "work/life balance" or "flexible hours" thing. Isn't that the same?
"As long as managers are controlling people’s work time/place, there will be no ‘balance’," Jody is keeping it one-hundred here. "Traditional flexibility programs are managed by managers, and work time and location are negotiable and relevant. In a ROWE, accountability to measurable results is the only thing that is relevant and is non-negotiable."
I like where this is going. My time is my time. And if I can accomplish my work in four hours that day, well, I should be able to play Fortnite during the other 20 hours.
Photo from BestBuy.com, one of the biggest players to take on a ROWE
But what if I'm a recent college grad, and I'm still working that cashier's job at In-N-Out? Can I have a ROWE there too?
Good news, fellow postgrads. You can.
"Their location on any given day is a function of their agreed-upon results," Jody tells us how this can work with any job. "Not being in the right place to achieve results ends up being a performance issue - because customers are negatively affected. In a ROWE, there are never tardiness or attendance issues...only performance issues. We have implemented a ROWE in manufacturing – yes, the line – retail – yes, the store - in direct-care nursing, call centers – many ‘location-specific’ driven teams."
If you're hype af about the idea of this, feel free to bring it up to your boss. I already have, and we're taking steps to be more ROWE friendly. It definitely helped that Jody has a book called, Why Work Sucks and How To Fix It, that I could reference so the idea of a ROWE didn't look like some random millennial idea that's RUINING EVERYTHING IN SOCIETY. GAWD.
Jody Thompson's book, Why Work Sucks and How To Fix It
Now there's something Jody came up with that we've gotta talk about. It's called Sludge™.
Hell yeah. It's so legit it's got its own trademark.
"Sludge™ is any language that judges how another person is spending their time," Jody gives some examples:
‘Where’s Bob? Is he coming in today?’ or ‘I wish I could leave early,’ or ‘How long will you be in on Friday?' are all examples of Sludge™."
Man, I can think of plenty of people who are Sludge™ machines. Me included. When you're trapped in this time based prison, I guess it's kind of hard not to police others if they aren't miserable with you.
We think routine is miserable. And the opposite of that is obviously unpredictability.
Photo from Office Space
"Being unpredictable means being surprising, unexpected, and having the power to stop people in their tracks," tell 'em like it is, Jody. "It's an action that can create the opportunity for people to consider another viewpoint and course of action – either in the moment or over time. ROWE is unpredictable."
Hell yeah, it is. Now pay attention, here's the most important part of this whole post:
"ROWE is entirely outside of the brain pathways we’ve been building for years around the way work needs to be organized. It causes people to consider a perceived, disruptive change that can achieve positive, unintended consequences."
ROWE ROWE ROWE your boat, aggressively down the stream. It's time for change. It's time for ROWE.
You can follow Jody Thompson on:
LinkedIn: (Jody Thompson)
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