Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

ROWE Makes People Happy

I have been a bit perplexed over the last few months, about how some people have found my website. (I can check to see whether they were directed by a search engine, typed my URL, or were linked here from someplace else. Big Sister is watching you!)

Some of the search requests have used phrases such as, “Rowe helps employees” and “Questions about Rowe.” That made sense–sort of.  However, last month I was shocked to have three people come to my site after searching for, “Rowe doesn’t work”, “Dislike Rowe”, and “Rowe bad for employers.” What the heck was that all about?  So, I researched it.

Here is what ROWE is all about–Results Oriented Work Environment. It was a concept started by Best Buy in their headquarters offices, and is now being considered for retail stores. It is essentially flextime, in that the focus is on results not on time in the office. If your workplace has implemented ROWE or something similar, I’d like to know your thoughts.

Some employees complain that this is very unfair for those who must be there to open and close the office, if others come and go as they wish. A few say their productivity standards were increased, making it necessary for them to work more hours anyway. Many jobs simply could not use the concept because of customer or client expecations. However, for many, it is a good way to let employees live their lives without such stark boundaries between work time and home time. All I know is that I have it on good authority that ROWE makes many people happy!

I think I will contact Best Buy and see if they can do a better job of selling this concept around the world. I want 100% acceptance! I’m tired of having my website found by people who are looking for information about “ROWE is failure” “Reasons Rowe won’t work” or the ultimate, “Rowe bad.”

One of my favorite ways of having my website found and read by a total stranger, was when someone from the UK searched, found me, and contacted me by email to ask about one of the posts, unrelated to his original topic. How did he find me? Rather obvious: He looked for “Best Buy ROWE is successful.” (My friends just call me, “The Best.”)  

August 19th, 2008 Posted by | Life and Work | 9 comments


  1. Tina, I feel happier after I read your journal and look at the accompanying photos, and I have never even met you. Maybe you should tell Best Buy that your name is copyrighted or trademarked! Blessings to you today. Don

    Comment by Don Roberson | August 20, 2008

  2. How funny! I’m going to tell J.M. that we should get ROWE in our office. He will be all confused! Ha! D.

    Comment by denisek | August 20, 2008

  3. We used a form of ROWE in our work and it didn’t work at all! It sounds great, but the only employees it worked well with were supervisors and managers and a few others who had a lot of self discipline. Some of the others ended up not getting their work done or not doing it right because they rushed to get done in a couple of hours every day.

    One night several people stayed in the office all night to get a report done, then they set off a security alarm when they left. It was a big mess. It sounded good and I guess it could work in some offices, but we lost it within two months. We didn’t call it ROWE, so I didn’t realize there was a name connection!

    Comment by Ms. J. | August 20, 2008

  4. I’ve always said you make me happy! You should have copyrighted your name and make them pay you! M.

    Comment by Mike B. | August 20, 2008

  5. Tina Says:
    To Don, Denise, Ms.J. and Mike, thank you all for your comments! I think you have a good idea. I’ll do like other companies do, where they have the trademark and copyright symbols after almost every word on their website. I’ll start signing my name, Tina Lewis Rowe(tm)!

    Comment by Tina | August 20, 2008

  6. ROWE is being pushed by the two HR types who developed it while working for Best Buy. They have books, seminars and all the usual stuff about it. They sound like TV preachers with their hype about how wonderful it is. The problem is that they don’t have to staff an office and keep the peace. You can imagine how many bad feelings were created when we started the program.

    I enjoyed the idea, although I work eight hours a day at home or in a plane in addition to my regular work anyway. But for some, it was a way to allow them to move fluidly from work to home and back to work. It wasn’t uncommon to have some employees come and go six times a day. But we found there was always disruption when they’d come back.

    People who didn’t have ROWE time (sorry!) resented it and those who didn’t resent it would stop to talk to the people as they came and went.

    We stopped it after six months. Several people quit because they had set up child care based on making their own hours. But overall, we like it better this way.

    Even our youngest employees, who really went for the ROWE story about new employees needing more freedom, like having a clear demarcation between home time and work time. I think the structure is needed by most of us.

    Sorry for the long response. ROWE not good for us. But Tina Rowe good for everybody!

    Comment by B. B. | August 21, 2008

  7. Tina says: Thank you Brian! I can imagine that the movement in and out of a work area could be disruptive. I think the concept needs a very special workplace to be effective–although I do think it is wonderful when we can allow more flexibility. As you pointed out, making it fair and avoiding resentment is the biggest challenge.

    I think most employers end up doing as I would do which is, saying it’s easier to keep it structured. Not creative, but a lot fewer problems! Thank you again for your insights about your particular workplace. And for the compliment at the end! That was nice! 🙂

    Comment by Tina | August 21, 2008

  8. All I can say is that ROWE scheduling lets me go to school, get some exercise and still make more money than I did before. I feel more like selling when I’m not tied to the office all the time. The ones who hate it are usually the ones who can’t leave because of their jobs. I feel for them, but not enough to give up my ROWE schedule. Sorry!

    Comment by Yuki410 | October 3, 2009

  9. I found you because of looking up something about ROWE! I hated it and so did everyone in my office, even the people who used it. One kid (22) would work for a couple of hours, leave and come back. Then we found he was telling callers to call back later, when he was going to be gone! So, we were told we hadn’t implemented it right or it would have worked better. Yeah sure. ROWE is the biggest scam in the world just to sell some books and product. We stopped it, but now a new CEO is wondering about doing it again.

    Comment by Wisteria | April 10, 2010

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