Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE): What Work Flexibility Really Looks Like

A results-only work environment (or ROWE) became all the rage after two employees of a mega-corporation created the workplace model in the early 2000s. But does ROWE work well for all types of companies? Could it work well for your team? If your employees are hinting at the need for more work flexibility in their schedules, perhaps a ROWE work model could be right for your business.


What Is ROWE?

The concept of a results-only work environment is based around the idea that employees are evaluated solely on the work they produce and not the number of hours they spent doing it. The model emphasizes reward for efficiency versus the time spent at an office desk, with research results showing a lower turnover rate amongst employees, higher productivity levels, and an overall environment of accountability and trust.


ROWE allows employees to organize their own days and time, giving them the flexibility to work around their family and personal schedules while still getting their work done. In a ROWE system, gone are the days when a team member has to make up hours after a doctor’s appointment or worry what the boss might say when their child gets sick and needs to be picked up from school early.


Does ROWE Equal Flexible Hours?

Not exactly. When HR managers talk about flexible hours as a working model in a company, that simply means that an employee still has to complete X number of hours - just whenever they choose to complete them.


Results-only work environments are different in that there is no X number of hours to complete. An employee is only responsible for the output and results they create, no matter how long it takes them to do so. They have complete autonomy to accomplish the task in the manner they wish, as long as it meets the deadline for evaluation.


In many ways, the ROWE system allows employers to relate to their team in much the same way that companies relate to freelancers. They do not micromanage a freelancer’s time as long as the results are in on time.


Would ROWE Work for Your Team?

Although this system is unique from traditional workplace models (such as clocking in, shift rotation, etc) and addresses many of the needs of families and individuals in today’s world, ROWE does not work for every industry or company. A retail shop or customer service organization would have a hard time implementing a system with flexible work hours when they need to ensure that employees will be in the brick-and-mortar shop during opening hours.


Likewise, for companies that are highly collaborative, organizing the team’s personally-created schedules to hold meetings could get complicated.


ROWE is also not suited for employees that need a strong management system to help them reach their productivity goals. Since results-only work environments leave a lot of space for autonomy and personal growth, the system works well for highly motivated employees that take pride in their work and want to see the company succeed; it’s perfect for a team of self-starters who don’t need a lot of micromanagement to get the job done. However, companies that aren’t currently in that high-performing space with their employees can begin taking steps to implement a ROWE system that will help their teams start on the path to autonomy and increased performance.


Interested in Implementing a ROWE System?

Because a results-only work environment is so innovative in comparison with traditional models, setting up the new system in your company takes time, positive reinforcement, and a team of experts that are ready to answer questions and resolve issues as they arise during the transition.


There are several ways to go about implementing a ROWE model at your business, and the tactics chosen will be unique to your team and working needs. This includes assessing communication and task management systems to help create processes that support ROWE.


That’s why it’s important to have HR experts on your side to help your business grow and succeed. At Tulloch Consulting, not only can we help you implement a ROWE system for your team, but we can also make sure the transition is smooth and thorough. Contact us today for a free consultation on how we can help your team succeed.