The Future of Flexible Work Schedules

The work environment that most Americans are familiar with is one that requires them to be at the office for a set amount of time each day, regardless of whether they get their work done or not.  Sure, some of us have a well defined flex schedule and can work from home if necessary but how would you like to work on your terms?  How would your life change if you had the opportunity to work when you want, how you want, and where you want?  That is exactly the type of work environment that Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson are piloting with the Office of Personnel Management.

The way, when, where, and how we work is changing.

Ressler and Thompson created a work environment called Results-Only work Environment (ROWE).  ROWE is a management strategy that focuses strictly on the results that employees produce, not the presence they have at the office.  This allows employees to create a sought after work/life balance.

A results-only work environment promises the following benefits:

  • Allows you to set your own work schedule
  • Puts you responsible for results
  • Promotes a healthier, less stressful lifestyle
  • Autonomy and accountability
  • Environmentally friendly – no commuting
  • Increases productivity and efficiency
  • Retain and attract top talent

OPM’s John Berry was so impressed with this new workforce flexibility program that he announced that he was implementing a pilot program with 400 of the agency’s employees.  If the pilot is a success, OPM will expand it within the agency and encourage other Federal agencies to execute the program government-wide.  The program’s intent is to increase employee performance and morale and empower them to get the job done.

The Ken Blanchard Companies defines empowerment as the creation of an organizational climate that releases the knowledge, experience, and motivation that reside in people.  It is what leaders give to their people.  Self leadership is what people do to make empowerment work.   The ROWE program does just that by giving managers a new way to lead their direct reports and entrust them to take full responsibility to get their work done on their own time.

But is this new flex schedule right for everyone?  The creators of ROWE have reported an average increase in productivity of 35%, and a 90% decrease in voluntary turnover rates.  The pilot being tested at OPM is being evaluated by Deloitte.  A full report on their findings is scheduled to be published in February 2011.

What advantages/disadvantages would you expect if your organization implemented a ROWE work environment?

You can click here to learn more about how to create a motivating and empowering workplace.

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  1. #1 by JoAnn LaGasse on October 7, 2010 - 9:46 am

    Sounds great as long as the first result definition includes being available to serve your customer.

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