While a ROWE may have the potential to revolutionize work during times of crisis and otherwise, it’s worth reiterating that not all employees are eligible due to the broad range of job descriptions— some of which prohibit working remotely, such as many customer-facing positions in professional services, retail, and restaurants. Additionally, not all employees will be able to handle the high level of accountability, trust and responsibility that are essential elements for a ROWE to prove mutually beneficial for a company and its eligible workforce.
The results-only model is a smart move for certain job functions and classifications in specific industries.
Not all jobs require workers to be clustered in a traditional brick-and-mortar office environment around the clock. Cari Ressler, the ROWE architect and former business partner of Jody Thompson, is a top executive for talent management at Accenture. Ressler made the following points to me during a previous interview about the effectiveness of the ROWE from a management perspective:
- “Employers have been realizing it’s not a question of if they should be embracing a culture of autonomy and accountability, but when they’re going to do it.”
- “As an executive, you feel responsibility and accountability for the success of the company. What if every single employee felt that same level of accountability? What if they operated as if they were an owner of the business?”
- “Because in exchange for that kind of accountability, employees get autonomy over when and where they achieve their well-defined results. A win for the business, win for the customer, and win for the employee.”
Savvy employers will quickly adapt to new ways of working in a new business era.
While crisis management is unpredictable, disruptive innovation is inevitable. That’s why forward-thinking employers recognize that change is the only constant in today’s fast-evolving workplace. And many companies are being forced to change the way they operate due to the coronavirus. Moreover, as the labor force participation rate of Millennials and Gen Z continues to skyrocket, wise companies will proactively embrace progressive work paradigms.
Status quo employers can’t afford to reject change at the expense of progress. Intransigent old-school managers must transition to new virtual work arrangements.
That’s why savvy companies are adapting to management models that focus more on employee flexibility and accountability, and less on everyone working under the same roof — an antiquated concept of the Industrial Revolution.
Business operations are increasingly dependent on radical breakthroughs in technology to excel in a crowded global marketplace. Yet high-tech advances aren’t always afforded to employees who demonstrate high performance and productivity.
There’s a gaping disconnect between management expectations and employee needs — which is detrimental to bottom-line productivity.
The results-only work structure is being driven by rapidly changing demographics combined with new and evolving technology. These changes are redefining the scope of how and when work is done to get “the most bang for the buck” in a mutually beneficial manner for labor and management. It should be evident by now that disruptive innovation is rendering the traditional brick-and-mortar office environment obsolete. Thus more employers need to quickly adapt or the best talent will go to the competition.
Any company that thinks otherwise is still living in the industrial age.
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