I was going to make a joke about this, since that seems to be the mood I'm in today, like: Based on my recent trips to Best Buy, I thought they were already doing that:
If you walk into a Best Buy store this summer and see a tanned, rested sales-clerk clocking in or out of his shift on a whim, congratulations. You may have stumbled on a radical experiment: letting store employees work when they want.
You may also be looking at the future of your workforce, if Best Buy has its way.
With a classic flextime structure, workers arrange their schedules with their boss in advance. But under a program called Rowe, for "results-only work environment," the boss has no say in scheduling and can judge employees only on tasks successfully completed - even if none were done in the office. The five-year-old plan now covers 60 percent of the employees at Best Buy's corporate headquarters near Minneapolis.
And by all accounts, it's working. Employee productivity has increased an average of 35 percent in departments covered by the program. Rowe "has forced managers and employees to be really clear about what needs to be accomplished," says spokes-woman Dawn Bryant.
But this is actually a good idea for most workplaces. Let people know what they have to accomplish, then let them accomplish it when they want to, never mind the time clock, and give them a bonus if they exceed expectations. There has to be a little common sense, though. In my profession, for example, meetings have to be covered when they happen, and deadlines for stories have to be met. And I'm not quite how this would work in a retail establishment that is open for set hours, when customers have to be served no matter how flexible management wants to be about its employees' schedules.
Well, OK, one attempt at a humorous aside: What the heck is a spokes-woman? Someone so rotund she looks like a wheel?