Smashing the Clock

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1. Are there trade-offs in implementing a ROWE culture?

Like in the implementation of any other culture, there are certain trade-offs in ROWE. The focus shifts to productivity, rather than time spent in office and people can work from anywhere and at any time suitable for them as long as the work gets done. Since most of the employees work from home or on flexi-schedules, team interaction, communication and collaboration are limited. While, on the other hand, such culture promotes independent thinking, there is also a general decrease in quality of ideas and service due to limited interaction with peers and managers.

2. Can ROWE work with managers?

In this era of IT, where everything from the Internet to e-mails can be delivered to your mobile phone, it is easy for managers to coordinate and manage a group of people working offsite. Managers’ responsibility of ensuring achievement of targets in a timely manner will be fulfilled and it will be easier for them to distinguish between good and bad performers. Moreover, employees are more motivated and retention of staff becomes easier.

3. Is ROWE all or nothing? Might there be other options?

The success of ROWE lies in the hands of the employees and in the ways they perceive it. In an effort to prove their productivity and retain the privilege of flexible work schedules, employees may put their heart and soul into their work. Or they may slack off their work and attempt to lie or cheat their way ahead, finding themselves independent and free from supervision. Since the control is no longer in the hands of the management, it is essentially an “all or nothing” scheme. However, as it is based on the principle that employees are intrinsically motivated and do not need to be forced by the management to work, there is no middle path in implementation of ROWE.

4. What types of employees might find ROWE most/least appealing?

Employees, who worked for long hours, were stressed and found it difficult to maintain a decent work-life balance will probably find ROWE the most appealing. On the other hand, Generation-Y employees who have spent their younger years at their work desk and have always equated productivity to the hours spent in the office will have a hard time accepting ROWE. While initially slackers might also find ROWE to be a great way to avoid work, they will soon realize that their lack of efforts is even more apparent in a ROWE framework than in an ordinary work culture.

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