BestBuy’s Radical New Policy: No Time Clock

According to this article from BusinessWeek Online , BestBuy has decided to implement what they call “results-only work environment” or ROWE. Various technology companies have had similar policies in the past, but BestBuy is trying ROWE to an extreme that has probaly never been seen in a company of its size and in its industry. They wont have any schedules or mandatory meetings. Employees will be free to work wherever they want, whenever they want, as long as they get their work done.

All employees at the corporate offices will on the ROWE program by the end of 2007. Even more radically, they are making plans to implement the program in the stores as well.

The article mentions that not all of the BestBuy’s executives are sold on ROWE.

The CEO may have bought in, but there has been plenty of opposition inside the company. Many execs wondered if the program was simply flextime in a prettier bottle. Others felt that working off-site would lead to longer hours and destroy forever the demarcation between work and personal time. Cynics thought it was all a PR stunt dreamed up by Machiavellian operatives in human resources.

I have mixed feelings about these kinds of policies. My major concern is that by measuring only results, the company may be able to take advantage of employees by demanding results that require much more time than they would ever put in during a typical 40 hour work week. It is too easy for “work wherever and whenever you want” into mutate into “work everywhere and always” in order to get the results we are measuring.

It will be interesting to see how this will work for stores as opposed to corporate. My brother-in-law works at our local BestBuy, so as the policy is implemented I hope to post a follow up with his input and experience.

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