Saturday, December 09, 2006

Best Buy's Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE)

"Best Buy is recognizing that sitting in a chair is no longer working." [from Business Week, Dec 11, 2006]

Best Buy has experienced a worker revolution. From within the ranks of the hard-charging company, the employees created a work-from-wherever-you-like practice called "Results-Only Work Environment" or ROWE. It grew silently for 2 years before the company's CEO even knew it was happening.

Flexible work hours are not new. But a silent revolution to implement such a practice gets my attention. Something like that had to come from people who were overworked - BUT who also loved their jobs enough to turn rebel in order to find a livable way to stay at the job.

Critics ask, "But what happens when sales go bad or people's productivity declines? Is this sustainable?" The obvious 21st century answer is -- Haven't you noticed that change is the new standard. Nothing remains the same for very long in this century. Policies and practices change to meet the needs of the current environment. When that environment changes, the practice will change again to match it. The days of business practices that are static for decades (long enough to publish in policy manuals, distribute to all locations, and inculcate into all employees) are gone. We are now being guided by principles and missions. Practices change every day.


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