When you were a child and played on a see-saw the last thing we wanted was to sit still, perfectly balanced. Ideally you would have partners that would work with you. At times you are the one that would be doing the pushing, while at others you enjoy the ride. In control and working together you experience the maximum performance with the least amount of energy.
Some say that work-life balance, properly managed, makes life as easy and smooth as riding a see-saw. HR training reinforces this concept of work-life balance; they encourage associates to avoid working over-time or may even have a no tolerance policy on over-time.
Sometimes, discussions about work-life balance at work are a bit ironic. Management encourages everyone to work towards this mysterious state of zen, yet we have to accomplish this balance between the hours of eight and five Monday through Friday. After establishing a standard work-day, your day is anything but standard.
At home, our lives are intricately intertwined with our significant others, our children and even friends and neighbors. Throughout the year you will likely have periods of rest and relaxation layered with a variety of other commitments from ball games to bar-b-ques.
With all this variation at home and at work, how is anything like balance even conceivable? Finding the equilibrium between work and life is also very subjective. What is too much work in your world may not be enough for mine (like my son says, it may not be probable but it is possible:-)) Even if we can find our own personal balance, our utopia, outside forces are likely to throw us off kilter at times. Even a carefully constructed, meticulously planned and organized balance between your work and your life cannot compete against an irate customer, an auto accident or an audit notice.
Jody Thompson and Cali Ressler may have found the answer to the perpetual challenge of work-life balance in what they call the ROWE, a Results Oriented Work Environment. It began as an experiment while employed at Bust Buy. The headquarters staff enjoys an amazing amount of freedom in choosing both when and where they work. Nobody questions if you are at the office by eight o’clock or ten o’clock, what they do question is the results of your work. Have you obtained the appointments, booked the conference room or finished the marketing plan?
Fully implemented a ROWE work place has unlimited vacation time and no required meetings. Each person establishes their own schedule and then judged strictly on performance of the job not number of hours. ROWE allows you to work from home or even from the park, permitted you can meet the expectations of your role.
Can you imagine working in a ROWE? You would no longer have to waste time and energy convincing the boss to give you time off for your kid’s soccer game. As long as your work is completed on-time and on-budget, you could attend every sporting event, school production and attend every music lesson with your kids. Meeting your better half for lunch could be routine and you would feel comfortable running an personal errand while on the other side of town meeting a customer.
Instead of lumping all your work into 8 hours, you could dovetail a few hours of critical work and communication into your day while leaving quiet evening hours to take care of paperwork or administrative tasks.
With total flexibility in the day, few people would object to giving ROWE a try. But, what about the company, does it benefit as well? In an article on BNET.com, implementing ROWE leads to an average 35% increased work productivity. They also highlighted one group in particular.
How would things at work be different with ROWE? Working with your company, but in control of your time, you just might be able to experience maximum performance with the least amount of energy. For more information about ROWE take a look at Jody and Cali’s website gorowe.com
Readers: What do you think; would you like to work in a ROWE workplace? Would you be able to save much time and/or money if you had complete control over your schedule? Could you do your job from home?
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