John Klossner

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Working for results can be tough ROWE to hoe

Telework

recent FCW story covered the results-only work environment, or ROWE. This is a management concept that concerns itself less with employee workplace parameters -- no clocking in and out, no office presence -- and more with, well, results. It doesn't matter where or when you work as long as the job gets done.

Speaking as a freelance cartoonist, this is a format I am very familiar with and one I have always operated in. Speaking as someone who has worked in a ROWE format for over 20 years, I also know that it requires discipline on the employee's part, otherwise the perceived freedoms -- flexibility of schedule, freedom of working locations -- can be quickly overtaken by the constant presence of work, which is enhanced by the technologies allowing us to carry our office on our smart phones.

There is always another email to answer, more research to be done, another part of the project that can be taken care of while you're having dinner with your family. Part of this discipline requires establishing parameters with managers, lest they think you are available for contact and response 24 hours a day. These are not overwhelming obstacles, merely issues that need to be acknowledged and addressed in any ROWE relationship.

As our work environments become more ROWE-oriented, and we harbor thoughts of telecommuting from a hammock in the backyard, Mother Nature always seems to crash the party. The recent severe storms and resulting multi-day power outage in the DC region threw a water balloon on many teleworking setups. A once-a-decade (okay, once every 2 to 3 years) extreme nature event isn't the only thing standing in the way of teleworkers, however. Specific office telework policies (or lack of them), problems with remote network access and employees not keeping work hardware at hand all play into telework problems.

telework forecast

Posted on Jul 23, 2012 at 12:19 PM


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