Results Only Work Environments in Philanthropy

The runner-up in the One Post Challenge was An Evacuation of the Ivory Towers by Trista Harris, in which she argued the merits of foundation program officers going office-less and working in the field full time. In the article, she wrote:

Flexible work schedules and telecommuting have become commonplace in many for-profit organizations, but a Minnesota company has taken flexibility to the next level with the results-only work environment. Best Buy, an electronics retailer, has given its employees full control of how, when, and where they work. A guiding premise is that “work is something you do, not somewhere you go.” This means that employees take conference calls while fishing and start project planning after their kids go to bed. This new model has decreased turnover but, more important to our conversation, has improved productivity by 35%.

The people behind Best Buy’s transformation of their work environment are Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson. Their book Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It is due out in April 2008. Intrigued by Trista’s post, a member of Cali and Jody’s team emailed me the following:

As you might have guessed, ROWE is a very polarizing concept. People love it, and embrace it, or hate it, and are vocal about it.

We’ll support you in any way we can, would welcome the opportunity to post about it, and go into more detail about how it could work in a variety of settings, not just the corporate offices of a retailer.

We get emails from churches (Why do I have to be in a church on Sunday from 9am to 10am to pray?), High school students (If I’m an A student, why do I have to sit in class?) non-profits (Shouldn’t I be paid for the “good” I do? Not the hours I spend in the office?, and all kinds of corporations (I hate my job, help?)

We loved the revolution analogy, because ROWE was created at Best Buy from people buried in the organization, and when C-level people are pitched the idea, they shoot it down.  (after the Business Week cover story ran we had half of the Fortune 500 companies call or email us)

It’s a grass roots movement, and little revolutions are going to be happening in companies, foundations and non-profits all over the world. (Germany, Scandinavia, the UK and Australia are FASCINATED with ROWE).

You can learn more about Results Only Work Environments at I think Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It might just become the hot book of 2008 with the foundation set.