The case for a Results Only Work Environment

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Jun 02

One of the major causes of low employee engagement and productivity in corporations: we evaluate work based on time and presence, not results.

So says Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson in their new book “Why Work Sucks and how to fix it.” Evaluating work performance based on time spent in the office is rampant – and wrong. Instead, companies should adapt a “Results Only Work Environment” or ROWE. In this environment, only your results count, not the time spent in your office.

The workplace

They suggest that corporations currently evaluate people on this simple formula:

Time + Physical Presence = Results

If you ran your own business, you know that just sitting there for 8-10 hours a day straight being present will not produce results. Yet, that formula drives decision-making about performance in many companies. Need some proof?

Eve Tahmincioglu’s story of “How to make your job layoff-resistant” quotes these tips on how to keep your gig from Stephen Viscusi, author of the forthcoming book, “Bulletproof Your Job: How to Ride Out the Rough Times and Come Out on Top at Work:”

  • Perfect the art of looking busy — being active makes a great impression.
  • Come in early, stay late. (Even when there is nothing to do.) This aggressive stance as a hard-working employee is always remembered when it comes time to decide who will be on the chopping block.
  • Look good — dress for success. Look the part — neat hair, clothes, and invest in whitening strips for your teeth. (Yes, whitening strips.) Be sure to dress appropriately for your work environment. Be sure to look professional and not stick out. Stay away from exaggerated colors and styles.

Makes you want to throw up, doesn’t it? You would have to think your manager was an idiot to not see through that, yet this is advice for making your job layoff-resistant. I wouldn’t recommend the approach.

A Better Solution: Results Only Work Environment

In a Results Only Work Environment, you and your manager decide the results to carry out. Since it is only the results that count, it means your time is now precious.

Go to a meeting that doesn’t help you meet your goals? Not going to happen. Taking on extra work that impacts your results? Needs negotiation. Need to attend your daughter’s practice session at school at 2 PM on a Monday? Not a problem. Want to stay with friends in another state for two weeks? That will be fine.

How you spend your time and where the work gets done is all about work results, not a schedule for you to be in the office.

Time + Physical Presence = Results is pervasive

Cali and Jody spend time in this book going through the culture of time corporations have built – and turn them on their head. They started at Best Buy, where I first read of their results in December, 2006, in an article called “Smashing the Clock.” Now there is the book.

I asked to interview Cali and Jody about this revolutionary approach to work and they graciously accepted. This week, we’ll take a look at the Results Only Work Environment.

For Cubicle Warriors, it’s a great way to get engagement back into your work. After all, work shouldn’t be a place you go to, it should be something you do.


About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.