Get to Know ROWE: Remote Work on Steroids

As the novel coronavirus lingers, companies are increasingly leveraging remote work arrangements — some for the first time.

I’ve worked remotely in the public and private sectors for the past decade. Thus I can tell you that while there’s no “one size fits all” solution regarding telework, some models have proven more effective than others.

Successful remote work paradigms should be based on the specific industry and/or company involved, in addition to the nature of the work and specific job classifications. Remote work is not applicable to all jobs.

Employers need to experiment with different telework management models to discover the best outcome for their workforce.

Challenging times often demand bold solutions, in this case regarding remote work flexibility. That’s why a  Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) makes good business sense for some industries, especially for white-collar jobs in corporate America.

Five Factors

If you haven’t heard of a ROWE, the following are five critically important factors you need to know about the results-only approach to working remotely (this list is not all-inclusive):

  1. ROWE permits targeted segments of the workforce to integrate their professional and personal lives in a more seamless manner.
  2. ROWE empowers employees to decide when, where and how to work most effectively, in conjunction with management.
  3. ROWE gives real meaning to the outdated concept of work-life balance, which many savvy labor and HR experts have recognized is a “zero-sum game” which is no longer practical or achievable — .
  4. ROWE allows companies to maximize flexible work arrangements while simultaneously boosting business productivity and profits.
  5. ROWE increases employee engagement, performance, job satisfaction, morale and company (brand) loyalty.

In essence, a ROWE provides mutually beneficial outcomes for employers and employees alike. The five factors noted above are necessary for business success in our high-tech interconnected world, particularly amid a pandemic.

The ROWE model resembles remote work on steroids for today’s hyper-paced mobile, digital and virtual Information Age.

Millennial Appeal

The progressive approach of a ROWE also helps employers recruit and retain the sought after Millennial demographic, the largest segment of today’s labor force. A ROWE system is likewise appealing to Generation Z, the oldest of whom are increasingly entering the workforce (or will be soon).

Companies must remember that a new generation of young people is seeking more work autonomy, according to countless surveys and studies. That’s another reason why a ROWE makes good business sense for targeted industries. However, the results-only model is not conducive to all jobs. The ROWE is narrowly tailored for high performing workers in specific positions. It’s a smart management approach for periods of catastrophe and normality alike.

The ROWE structure is contingent upon a high level of trust between managers and workers.

The results-only system gives those employees the responsibility of deciding when, where and how to work. This broad work flexibility can effectuate better performance, productivity and profits for some companies. Moreover, a ROWE enhances work-life integration, which has superseded the elusive concept of work-life balance, as noted above

More CEOs and executive leaders need to remember that work is what you do, not necessarily where and when you do it — at least for many white-collar jobs.These employers don’t care when or where you work

ROWE Architects

ROWE is the brainchild of HR experts and . They have described a Results-Only Work Environment as follows:

  • “A management strategy where employees are evaluated on performance, not presence.”
  • “In a ROWE, people focus on results and only results — increasing the organization’s performance while cultivating the right environment for people to manage all the demands in their lives…including work.”

ROWE can maximize employee performance through flexible working arrangements which provide the best outcomes for a company’s culture.

Thompson, principal of , told CNN the following (article above):

  • “Each person is 100% accountable and 100% autonomous, which means I am self-governing and independent.”
  • “Real estate costs can drop significantly in a ROWE since people have let go of work as a place you go, but rather as something you do.”
  • “In a ROWE, you are constantly asking: Is this the right goal? Do we have the right measure? There has to be constant course correction to make sure you aren’t wasting your time.”

One critically important aspect of the ROWE is a work culture based on accountability and trust between managers and employees.


David B. Grinberg
David B. Grinberg
David is a strategic communications consultant, ghostwriter, and literary PR agent on issues of workforce diversity, equal employment opportunity, race and gender equity, and other social justice causes. He is a former career spokesman for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), where he managed media relations for agency headquarters and 50 field offices nationwide for over a decade. Prior to his public service at the EEOC, David was a young political appointee for President Bill Clinton in the White House: Office of Presidential Personnel, and Office of Management and Budget (OMB). A native New Yorker and University of Maryland graduate, David began his career in journalism. You can find David online via LinkedIn, Twitter, Medium, Good Men Project, Thrive Global, BIZCATALYST 360°, and American Diversity Report.

DO YOU HAVE THE "WRITE" STUFF? If you’re ready to share your wisdom of experience, we’re ready to share it with our massive global audience – by giving you the opportunity to become a published Contributor on our award-winning Site with (your own byline). And who knows? – it may be your first step in discovering your “hidden Hemmingway”. LEARN MORE HERE