The No-Spy Method to Managing a Mobile Workforce

As a two-year veteran Rippler, I’ve quickly become a strong advocate for the work-anywhere or, more specifically, results-only movement. It’s something that I end up talking about on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. And of course, as the content creator for Ripple, I often write articles and make videos about how our adoption of ROWE (results-only work environment) is a win for both clients and Ripplers.

Unfortunately, a recent backlash against the flexible workforce movement from big name companies like Yahoo and Best Buy has significantly decreased the momentum of changes to traditional workplace thinking. So, why the 180 degree turn away from telecommuting and flexible schedules?

Well, from what I’ve read it’s nothing more than panicked response that punishes employees for what are unrelated changes in customer behavior. Essentially, businesses that are experiencing a slump in sales decide that the way to turn things around is to go back to archaic workplace practices like mandatory meetings, tracked sick days, and a strict no-telecommuting policy. The reversal in attitude toward flexible workplaces indicates that some higher-ups are still missing the key component to managing them: focussing on results. And that’s not the kind of attitude that’s inspiring to current employees, let alone attractive to prospective talent.

It’s absolutely true that founders, CEOs, and top-level executives have to set in place the policies and practices that allow their people to kick-ass at their jobs. And it’s equally true that those people have to be ass-kickers at heart. But if the focus isn’t on results and/or the results aren’t clearly defined, then it really doesn’t matter whether they’re working 12 hours a day from the office or at home. Results just don’t magically appear once everyone sits down at their desks. Maybe if executives really want to turn things around in times of a crisis they should start by asking the self-motivated ass-kickers who have been getting results just how they do it.

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