Anyone who has worked in a standard 9-to-5 office knows it can feel like a crime against nature to walk out the door in the middle of the afternoon to pick up your child from school, or visit the doctor, without expressly communicating to your manager that you’ll be gone for a very specific amount of time. Even arriving a few minutes late can mean anxiety and frustration, depending on how strict the rules are.
For many business owners and managers, these rules – like a strict, 8-hour schedule and specific lunch breaks in certain windows – seem like efficient parts of everyday business, especially because that’s how it’s been done for, well, decades. These standard practices are done in the name of productivity, as many managers believe that a certain set of routine hours equals results. However, as our own Mike Rose recently wrote about, sales and business are changing, and so is the way we work.
That’s why Mojo Media Labs has adopted the ROWE system, which stands for Results Only Work Environment. In fact, Mojo Media Labs is a certified Results Only Work Environment™, as you might have already learned. Under ROWE, team members’ days and work are flexible, allowing them to accomplish tasks on a schedule that works for them, building trust and loyalty among the team. Today, we’re breaking down how and why ROWE works so well.
Results Beget Results
In a Results Only Work Environment, work is not just about being at an office or desk for a certain amount of time and calling that a full day; it’s about what you are doing to produce results for yourself, your team, and your clients. With employees focused on work instead of a clock, creativity and productivity improve.
While that sounds great, what does it mean on a practical level? Many managers have a false perception that proximity equals good workers and results. According to Fast Company, not only is this not true at all, it can often work against you and your goals. The study mentioned in the article finds that at least 52 percent of employees work from home at least once a week in 2019, which means that their managers trust them to get their work done and communicate effectively, regardless of how much they were actually in the office, or at their desk for eight straight hours that week.
Coupled with our core values, we believe that a ROWE system encourages loyalty and trust between team members, as well as positively altering the relationship between managers and employees. If I were to sum it up in one sentence, it means prioritizing your work and results above trivial things like a precise, daily schedule (I can’t actually sum it up in one sentence – that’s why we’re here, but you get the idea).
A Huge Increase in Flexibility
While I realize I’ve already said “flexible,” it’s worth repeating just to get the message across: a ROWE environment is incredibly flexible. Within a traditional 9-to-5 or 8-hour workday, employees are often bound to their desk or office area, released for a strict, one hour block for lunch, and arrive home with a bunch of other things to do.
In a ROWE environment like ours, your life and job can coexist in a balance that makes the most sense for whatever your situation. If you need to pick up your child from school early because they’re sick, or you’d like to spend a few hours volunteering at a nonprofit you’re passionate about, it’s completely acceptable – as long as you’re communicating to your team and getting your work done. This is key: ROWE only works if you also have communication and trust. And also, speaking of trust...
Trust from the Top
One of the biggest benefits of a Results Only Work Environment that you might not have expected before joining one (and one that I did not foresee) is that, when it’s working for everyone, it builds automatic trust between teammates, regardless of their status within the “hierarchy” of the company.
It makes sense: when your managers express to you that they know you’ll get your work done within such a flexible schedule, it builds trust between both parties. One of ROWE’s goals is to transform the manager/employee relationship into something more like that between a coach and a team member. Instead of spending (read: wasting) time hovering over desks and making sure everyone is working, managers can spend their time investing in their team, continuing to build trust and relationships.
Develop Your Skills
Finally, ROWE gives employees the ability to seek out the professional development tools they want and need to continue to grow within their field. When it comes to digital marketing, this means that if an employee is interested in something, they can devote time and energy to making it happen, with the support of their team and managers.
While growing professionally is not necessarily part of a Results Only Work Environment, it’s easy for it to be a part of one. When you have flexibility in your role and trust your managers and team, it enables you to communicate your goals and desires without fear of judgment or rejection. In our ROWE culture, the team at Mojo Media Labs has the creative freedom to continue to develop. As our culture page says,
“At Mojo we reward those who act like owners and produce quality work efficiently by extending to our team members the best of all three worlds: the autonomy of a CEO, the safety net of a team member, and the flexibility of someone who is self-employed and self-managed.”
At the end of the day, everyone wants to feel valued and valuable, and everyone also wants to have a life that intersects well with their work. ROWE helps to allow the team to aim for those ambitions and more.