In this blog series, Fine Point Consulting staff discuss the process, rewards, and challenges of becoming a certified Results-Only Work Environment, an HR management strategy wherein employees are paid for results, rather than the number of hours worked. Certification is expected to be complete sometime this summer (2015).
This week: initial reactions to ROWE from Fine Point staff, including comments from Chelsea Stanton and Gail Pawlak, and how their opinions about it have or have not changed during training and discussion over the past couple of months.
Once the senior staff agreed that we should take the next steps to becoming a Results-Only Work Environment, it was time to introduce the idea to the full staff. Leah and I did that during one of our weekly staff meetings, presenting the information we had received from the conference, as well as our own personal thoughts about how it might work for Fine Point.
Shortly thereafter, I sent out a Tiny Pulse survey (one of my favorite tools!) to staff to gauge how they were feeling about becoming a ROWE. The anonymous responses were varied. Here’s a sample of what staff had to say:
- I have mixed feelings about ROWE as of right now. Theoretically speaking, it sounds fantastic. It’s when it gets put into practice that I’m a little worried about. I have a feeling I’ll feel guilty for not doing “work” things for normal business hours. Or that I’ll feel inclined to be more available during more parts of the day. I’ve never had to mesh work-life and personal-life. It’s always been one or the other, not both intertwined.
- I am thinking ROWE is going to be awesome. I am thinking that this works perfectly with our work ethic and should make things roll much smoother and efficiently.
- It might take me awhile to get used to the concept. It seems as though some teams are already working the ROWE way, so I’m not clear on when this is all going to really start. Perhaps it’s already in place. I think we need more clarification on workload and the ultimate result.
- I think it sounds great. I agree that as long as you are achieving your results and making your clients happy you should have the freedom to have a flexible schedule to deal with other things in your life.
The ROWE certification process involves reading Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It: The Results-Only Revolution, written by the creators of ROWE, completing a series of exercises along with each chapter, and then taking a test at the end of the training program to make sure we all understand how it works. As we continue through these exercises, staff who had initial concerns about ROWE seem to become more comfortable with the idea, and those who were enthusiastic with the idea from the beginning only get more excited.
“I’ve been a ROWE supporter since it was introduced to us,” says Fine Point’s Chelsea Stanton. “I don’t think the number of hours you’re at work matter as much as getting your work done. That’s what matters.
“The training exercises have been great. During this time I had my tonsils removed and was working from home while I recovered, so I had a first-hand experience with how the ROWE would work. It just reinforced to me that you don’t necessarily have to be in the office to work and be effective.”
Staff member Gail Pawlak says she was a little uncertain about ROWE when it was initially introduced. “Staying in communication with your team is the big issue. I’m a little older than the rest of the staff and had some initial concerns about the ROWE and how it would work. I even had a dream where I was at a water park with my family during a work day and received an urgent call from a client. For some reason I couldn’t find anyone in the office to help the client and I was freaking out! It was really more of a nightmare for me—the idea that I wasn’t serving our clients.”
“I’m feeling much more comfortable with the idea of the ROWE now that we’ve gone through the training and talked about our concerns,” Gail adds. “I have a 45-minute commute to work, so I definitely see, for example, how on days when the weather is bad I could be more productive while working from home.”
One theme that has come up a few times with staff is how the ROWE might affect our work culture. We’re a tight-knit group that genuinely likes seeing one another and working together (how lucky are we?!), and we’d like to keep it that way.
“We still plan on getting together as a group and participating in some fun activities,” says Gail. “Weekly staff meetings will also continue, though they will be optional, depending on the agenda. And if you’re more comfortable with working in the office every day from 9-5, there’s no reason you can’t continue to do that.”
Stay tuned for future posts on the ROWE rollout, and be sure to visit Fine Point Consulting for a complete list of the tools and services we use to help businesses succeed.