I will never forget logging on to the Ripple website for the first time when I was learning about them. I clicked on the Jobs tab and up comes this explanation of why they’re a ROWE. Huh? As I read about this foreign concept of Results-Only Work Environment, I thought “This has got to be too good to be true”. I am very happy to admit that I was wrong about that.
Here I am, months later, a very happy Rippler and ROWE employee.
However, I have to say ROWE takes some getting use to. I have been in sales and marketing for over 10 years. And when I look back over previous positions, the most common thread has been… don’t be late! As if somehow showing up at 8:36 instead of 8:30 will magically undo all the hard work and late hours I have put into my job. Not to mention the added stress of related things like driving in rush hour traffic, or going into the office sick because I couldn’t spare one of my 10 vacation/sick days.
Here’s a strange but true story:
I once closed a huge deal at 11:30 at night thanks to some persistence and strategic timing and then I got chewed out the next morning for being 20 minutes late. Let me tell ya, I really felt motivated for the next deal after that. So it goes without saying when I went from that old–school, strict, buttoned-up mentality to a ROWE, I had to constantly remind myself that I’m not doing anything wrong by choosing what hours I work or where I am when getting my job done. As if any minute my boss is going to say, “Haha. Just kidding!” and then crack the whip back to reality.
Nevertheless, this is it! This is how ROWE works! You decide during what hours you are most productive and you work those hours. If you need a longer lunch, you can take it. If you want to work from home, you do and no questions asked. And if you need a random day off because the Redskins just won the Superbowl and you feel the need to do cartwheels up and down the streets…you can take it! Ok that one is a stretch… but the Redskins are getting closer each year and I am already planning that special day off…thank you RG3!! Nevertheless, the main thing that matters is that you are productive and get your work done successfully.
What a concept, right?
One thing is for sure: ROWE is an amazing gift to professional men and women that are trying to earn a living and manage a growing family. For me, I don’t have a family yet but ROWE is still something I truly appreciate. It makes me feel like a valued and trusted employee. It is a confidence booster that my boss has faith in what I can do and that I am grown up enough and professional enough to manage myself, hold myself accountable and produce results. I know many people fear that giving their employees that much freedom will result in them taking advantage but in reality it has the opposite effect. You want to work even harder than normal because you have these people trusting you and putting faith in you, and you want to show them how much you really appreciate it.
In general, a ROWE just makes so much sense! Why have your employees waste a hour to and from work a day sitting in traffic when they could do their jobs working from home? Why enforce a time clock on a salaried employee when you have someone that can complete their work above and beyond in 6 hours a day rather than 8? And why on earth have your genius programer start at 9am when all of his best mad–scientist work happens when he is still up in the wee hours of the morning? I look at it like the old theory “a rising tide lifts all ships.” The more motivated and confident your employees are, the stronger your company will be.
All of that said, I am still very new to being part of a ROWE company, but obviously I am sold. I’m spoiled now and while I hope to be a Rippler for many years to come, I am pretty sure that I could never go back to the old way of working. It would be hard to take someone seriously if they’re putting more focus on an outdated tradition than bottom line productivity and employee satisfaction.