Generations of young men and women fresh out of college are about to enter a white-collar world of cubicles, micromanaging bosses, and low-wage opportunities. They’ll be suffocated in an office with little room for advancement, bound by the limitations of the brick and mortar that keeps them slightly uncomfortable with a loud HVAC system humming above them.
Sounds like the American Dream, right?
Not really. More and more employees are beginning to realize that although they’re grateful to even have a job, they know they’re worth more than just their job description. Their LIFE is worth more. They turn to social media for their fix of venting frustrations, and dream of the beach while they look at photos of young twenty-somethings enjoy Maui. “Oh yeah – break’s over, gotta go back to work…”
There is a new movement that is slowly taking hold on certain industries, who value their employees’ lives and work ethics. The movement, sparked by books such as The 4-Hour Workweek, has completely revolutionized how businesses do business.
The acronym ROWE stands for Results Only Work Environment. The concept is that companies pay their employees for results, not per hour. It’s similar to a salary-based position, but with even better implications: employees are permitted, some or all of the time, to work remotely from home. Obviously, this wouldn’t work in industries such as construction or teaching that usually require a physical presence, but certain administrative elements can be delegated remotely to employees who need just a computer and an internet connection.
It’s amazing how well this concept has worked. Recently, I heard a podcast episode on Join Up Dots (David Ralph is the host) with Jeremiah Smith, President and CEO of Simple Tiger LLC. He spoke of the ROWE method and how well it works for his company, and that his entire team is virtual. His employees are paid completely on a results-driven format, and they have weekly meetings to keep in touch.
There are a number of industries that can adopt the ROWE method into their business model. As previously stated, it works for those who perform work on a computer with an internet connection. Some of these industries might be customer service (phone, email, and live chat), graphic design, video editing and production, sound design, administrative tasks (such as virtual assistants), blueprint engineering, virtual teachers and online schooling, and many more. Anything you can think of that is performed on a computer can adopt the ROWE business model, and can even creatively be adopted into consulting work whereas a company can spread out their service across the country to wherever its agents are (think about State Farm, for instance).
One of the elements that prevents industries from adopting the ROWE method is an age-old aspect of human nature: the desire to control each other. It’s not unreasonable to want to make sure all elements of your company are running smoothly, of course, but gone are the days of abusive bosses getting away with being, well, abusive. That of course is why Human Resource departments were invented – but with ROWE, you don’t even need HR! If your employees need help, they can privately seek assistance outside of the company (which allows for complete privacy of their personal issues as well).
That being said, any company that adopts ROWE would be more likely to be understanding of their employees’ personal lives with one simple expectation: get results. This squarely places the job on an employee’s shoulders and asks of them only to accept complete responsibility for their own actions and work ethic. No results? No job. Very simple.
In short, if your business hasn’t already adopted ROWE, it’s time to think about it. More and more white-collar workers will demand flexibility, and if you can’t provide it?
Well, they’ll just start their own damn company.