Updated: Jun 12, 2019
Time is an illusion — a statement known the world over affirms that the fabric of time and the way it passes is a subjective experience. Without going into the physics of it, we all know how time can drag and run at the same time, depending on where you are, who you are with, what you are doing.
And Within the four walls of a professional space we all have experienced the inevitable ‘is the clock working’ phenomenon. While some other days bring in the contrasting ‘is it evening already?’
Both scenarios involve a drastic feeling of discomfort generated from forced to being tied down to a place irrespective of productivity.
Don’t believe us? Here is some compelling evidence:
The U.S.A. — known for being a particularly overworked nation, despite the fact that it’s been proven that increased hours do not necessarily increase productivity — and often do just the opposite.
Statistically, longer working hours has marginally reduced the productivity of the country as a whole.
On the contrary at Sweden many companies have adopted a six hour workday and found that employees are happier, the quality of work is improved and there are fewer sick days compared to the eight-hour workday.
Furthermore, a study conducted by Erin Reid, a professor at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business, found that the results of those who put in 80 hours were no different than the results of those who worked 40 hours.
Keeping aside the illusionistic nature of time, and its frailty, we know one thing for sure — time is irreversible, precious. If, time is indeed precious, and once gone cannot return — how does it make sense to tie people down irrespective of whether or not they can contribute?
Does it not make more sense to measure productivity, and contribution over hours spent at desk ?
Not according to business thinkers, which was made evident through another study that showed that even if employees were less productive, working 80 hour-weeks, they were given more credit by their employers (and were more likely to be promoted) than those who put in much fewer hours while producing similar results.
We, however disagree and advise that you may read further only if you resonate with creating a result driven environment instead of a time bound one.
We suggest ROWE.
ROWE which stands for Results Only Work Environment, is a human resource management technique co-created by Jody Thompson and Cali Ressler wherein employees are paid for results (output) rather than the number of hours worked.
In ROWE instead of blind worship of time — we introduce results, making it the driving factor (of course within a reasonable timeframe, we after all have only 24 hours) which will ultimately only lead to a happier work environment, better productivity and faster results.
It is time we ditch the age old, tried and tested nine to five system and evolve to adapting a to a more progressive arrangement that is beneficial to the employee and thereby, the employer.
The biggest argument most employers have against ROWE is accountability. Employers still feel the need to tie their employees to a leash under the guise of assured results.
And ROWE being the flexible system it is, gives the employee the power to decide where, when and how the work gets done. Which doesn’t sit right to a lot of employers, but using time as a measurement of success has long since been proved to be a failure.
The clock is the faux master and time really has no relevance unless it’s used to manage deadlines, due dates, deliverables and such — the work.
So while following the ROWE system allows each person 100% autonomity, and gives them the ability to decide the specifics of their geography, time and method of work, it is also a huge indicative of whether or not someone can be productive without a leash i.e. the employee also becomes 100% accountable to produce measurable results.
ROWE shifts the attitude of measuring time to measuring goals, which is hardly accounted for in our current work culture.
However, how does this apply to a design workplace?
Designing, and any other creative activity is the action dominated by the use of the right side of our brain. Therefore, numbers and time aren’t absolute measurements of success in a design workplace. Which means using an extrinsic motivational system — i.e. a reward — punishment approach is ineffective in a creative environment.
But ROWE, an intrinsic motivational approach is way more conducive to productivity since it takes away stress variables of being bound to a particular place, or time for the completion of work. The benefit of autonomy allows a person with a right brained creative task with a freer mind to pursue more constructive and inclusive solutions to problems and tasks.
In summation, a happier work environment allows employees to pursue the completion of the task at hand instead of chasing the illusion of being productive through the measurement of the hours they have clocked in.
Leading by example, many high profile corporate business have adapted to the changing mindset of a goal driven economy and devised other clever management systems that make for some of the happiest known workplaces on earth — like
Altrasin — FedEx day
Altrasin an Australian firm has their engineers work on anything they prefer for 24 hours followed by a meeting wherein they can present their ideas. They have coined this the FedEx day relating the delivery company making overnight deliveries and their engineers following a similar process with ideas.
The company has observed that the 24 hours allocated as such have produced maximum software fixes from their engineers which hadn’t occurred in a traditional work schedule.
Google — 20% time
Known for having one of the most employee friendly work environments, Google follows a similar approach wherein designers are given an opportunity to use 20% of their time to work on anything they fancy.
Statistical evidence shows that about half the products (Gmail,Gnews etc.) Google launched that year was a result of the 20% open time allocated to their designers
As more and more organisations are realising the tremendous benefits of offering flexibility and having happier employees as opposed to leash bound workers, we thrive through the use of ROWE.
So, go on, rowe that boat to success!