ROWE: The Ultimate Flextime Policy

In a results-only work environment, there is no such thing as a flextime policy because every workday can be viewed as flextime.

With ROWE, a term coined by two Best Buy Co. employees roughly a decade ago, work is not time or place but what an individual or team produces. In a ROWE structure, it doesn’t matter if employees choose to work from 9 p.m. to 11 a.m., or 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., then 4 to 11 p.m., as long as the work gets done.

Want to take a quick two-hour break from work at noon to see a popular new movie? ROWE says it’s OK. Need to get some grocery shopping done during that mid-afternoon weekly conference call while dialing in from a cellphone? ROWE says go ahead.

But as with any flexible working arrangement, ROWE requires a strong level of accountability, coordination and trust, said Karren Fink, chief human resources officer at Edmunds.com Inc., a Santa Monica, California-based tech firm that implemented the work style in 2012.

“ROWE needs to be a culture of accountability,” Fink said. “This isn’t a three-month ticket to Belize. It is, know what you have to get done and figure out the best way to do it — but you’re still fully committed to your job and your company.”

Fink said ROWE is the ultimate driver for diversity and inclusion because it encourages diversity of perspectives. It allows individual employee needs to be met, whether it’s someone who’s caring for an aging parent, someone who has a sick child or someone who loves to rock and mountain climb from 6 to 10 in the morning. “All of those interests can be brought to Edmunds, and all of those needs can find a way to make it work with our workforce.”