Friday, June 1, 2007
Productivity and the Result-Only Work Environment
It's the weekend, our time for something non-technical. But even if we are not working, we can still think about work, can't we? At least this is what Lise Belkin did in this New York Times article: Time Wasted? Perhaps It's Well Spent. Amongst others, the article mentions a few points from an often cited 2005 Microsoft survey on productivity. On average we spend 45 hours at work every week, and deal with 45 emails every day. According to a separate poll conducted by Staples, 49% of business managers make calls and check email behind the wheel and 18% check their email in the bathroom (!). So we do indeed work a lot. But we also think that a lot of this time is wasted. According to the same Microsoft survey, we spend 5.6 hours each week in meetings, and 71% of them are considered not productive. And out of the 45 hours we spend at work, we think 16 are unproductive. There seems to be a feeling of frustration about our own productivity, and a sense that something can be done to make us more productive. But what? Doing longer hours doesn't work. Some feel that Getting Things Done (GDT) is our way to salvation. Belkin's article points to another method implemented by 75% of the workforce at Best Buy's corporate headquarters, which is called Result-Only Work Environment (ROWE). ROWE puts an emphasis on what is being produced, not how it is produced. ROWE is about results, not the how much time you spend to reach this result. What about you give a try to ROWE? Maybe you can start your next workday not by thinking that you will be at your desk for the next 8 hours, but with setting goals you want to reach during that day.