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Is your demand for your people’s office facetime and amount of effort actually hurting your employees’ productivity? Do you demand quantity of work over quality?

This morning, Tim Ferriss posted a great entry about a new book on Best Buy’s ROWE project (“Results-Oriented Work Environment”): No Schedules, No Meetings—Enter Best Buy’s ROWE

I remember reading about Best Buy’s initiative a few years ago in a business magazine, and cutting it out to save. Not because the idea of measuring people by results was so revolutionary – because obviously it’s not – but because implementing successfully in a large company is revolutionary. Because of ROWE, Best Buy claims to have increased HQ productivity by 41% while decreasing voluntary turnover (i.e. quitting) as much as 90%.

Actually, although we all say we want to measure results rather than effort, it actually doesn’t happen as much as you assume it does. Companies, including small ones, still demand constant facetime, even with the most-measured people in a company such as salespeople!! (Obviously this is only relevant to salespeople based in an office, not field salespeople.)

Thankfully, the trend today is towards more and more freedom to produce, without the shackles of obligatory facetime, hours or meetings (because those things can still be highly valuable). It’s getting easier as the technologies improve. But we’re still at the early stages of a change in attitude.

For example, for the managers reading this right now – how often do you let your people work from home? If employee after employee (not just one or two) came to you and asked for permission to work from home multiple per week, what would your reaction be? Even if they made a solid case for how their productivity would increase?

Pause for a moment and really pay attention to your reaction, and question it. Is there anything resembling “I never worked from home, so they shouldn’t either”, “I won’t know what they’re doing,” or “my own boss will think I and my team are slacking”? Fear is the most powerful inhibitor.

These are examples of why teams and cultures still demand and measure effort, not results, and why changing this attitude is harder than you’d think, even in a small company.

The book is called“Why Work Sucks, And How to Fix It: No Schedules, No Meetings, No Joke – The Simple Change That Can Make Your Job Terriffic.”

If you see that you have been controlling of your people’s time and attention, what would be one thing you can try to begin to loosen things up?

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