NPR is doing a series this week about the time we spend working in America, and the attitudes that are (thankfully) starting to change. Many companies are adopting flextime and telecommuting policies, as we know, and one portion of the article talks about R.O.W.E., the newest and most extreme tool in the "find-work-life-balance" arsenal. It stands for Results-Only work environment, and basically means that if a company adopts this policy, everyone from managers down to the lowest wage-earners can set their own schedules. It means that offices might be essentially dark on any given Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. (but you might be finishing your part of a project at midnight. Or not...). You really should go read the article; it's eye-opening.
My gut reaction is: I Want. My second reaction is... how do I get a job with the consulting agency who invented R.O.W.E.?? And my third reaction is... wait. How would that work, exactly?
One of the tenets of the program is that meetings are purely optional. Most of us probably can't imagine such a luxury. Of course, you're still responsible for what might happen in a meeting, but if you're not scheduled to be in the office that day (because of a school play or your laundry that needs doing), no big deal. Nobody can say anything.
It's supposed to cut down on attitudes that attach a stigma to those of who telework -- because even as policies are changing with the times, many managers still raise their eyebrows. They can't help but think, "Does she ever work?" if they never see her. I'm not a manager, but I'll admit to that mindset -- as well as the varying levels of Guilt when I, myself, take advantage of a flex-day. I wonder when we'll really, as a society, be able to do away with all the negativity? The NPR writer quotes Minnesota sociologist Phyllis Moen as saying "We're really in the middle of something like an industrial revolution, but it's a work-time revolution."
Man, I hope so. I really, really hope so.