By Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson (Portfolio, 2008)
In 2000, Best Buy executives invited employees Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson to devise a plan to improve company productivity. Their initial research found two things: For most people, work sucked — primarily because employees weren’t trusted with their time. In an information age when cell phones and email have made time and space fairly flexible, full-grown adults are still supervised for 40 hours a week — not unlike kindergarteners. This work model is especially hard on people with family responsibilities and creative aspirations. To really thrive, adults need more than just flextime, the authors assert — they need time control.
Based on this insight, Ressler and Thompson developed the Results-Only Work Environment (or ROWE), where office workers have that control. So long as work gets done it can be done anywhere. Productivity at Best Buy skyrocketed, showing that when trusted with their time, people do everything to protect it — including their best work. Why Work Sucks gives an animated description of the ROWE guideposts, describes how to implement them at your office, and provides an inspiring vision of employment that’s kind to our families, creativity and well-being.