The Anthropology of Work

From the blog

The Cloud @ Work

Welcome to R.O.W.E

Now, go home!

Yes, that’s right, if you work on a ROWE team, the first thing you will do is pack up your things and go home.

About 8 years ago, Best Buy began experimenting with ‘extreme telecommuting’ at their HQ in Minneapolis.  They introduced ROWE- Results Only Work Environments.  One team at a time, they empowered individual teams to determine when and where they wanted to work.  Some groups work on campus, others don’t.  Workers were given the choice.  No meetings.  No fixed offices.  Just focus on the work and making it excellent, not on face time and office politics.

Since then around 75% of Best Buy employees are on ROWE teams.  Employee turnover is way down.  Worker productivity is way up. Employee engagement is way up.  Turns out that choice, flexibility, and autonomy do make workers more productive!

It’s Already Happening (in some places)

Other ‘results only’ or ‘anytime-anywhere’ work programs are now live at Capital One, Sun Microsystems (now part of Oracle), Cisco, Intel, and other companies.  These companies embrace the cloud economy not just for computing and data storage, but for managing how work gets done and how individual workers manage their lives.

I suspect that this is just the beginning of a pattern that will one day be the norm.  At such point in time, the concept of work/life balance won’t be just an HR catchphrase, but will be an everyday reality for more and more people!

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