Recently, Petra Coach presented a webinar, 15 Years Building a Hybrid Work Environment & What it Means for the Next 15 with Mike Landman

You can find the full recording below.

The below Illustrated Model is from The Vivid Ink Company. Kristin McLane and her team transform the spoken word into lasting and actionable works of art. Check them out on FacebookLinkedInInstagram or their website.

Top Takeaways

ROWE

Results Only Work Environment

  • So long as the work gets done, work when and where you choose
  • A workplace of autonomy and accountability
  • Adults presumed to be adults
  • Unlimited vacation, blend personal and professional time as you see fit

Where We Are Today

  • We’re essentially 18 months into a massive ROWE (more of remote) experiment
  • Most workers (office work) are relishing and demanding this new-found freedom
    • This is not going to be easily relinquished by people
  • Employees are adapting and often thriving in this environment
    • Super encouraging and maybe a little surprising
  • Potential pushback to the old norms shaped by sunk costs, tradition around what work “is” and a longing for intangibles (socializing, team morality)
  • People will leave if they don’t get this freedom

RippleIT

  • Managed IT Services
  • 26 employees
  • 2 Locations – ATL & NYC
  • Mike has been doing this since 2007, so they have learned to lessons in times where it wasn’t forced upon them and use that to decide how they wanted to proceed

Has It Worked? It hasn’t not worked.

Since 2007:

  • Revenue 5x
  • Profit 10x
  • 3 acquisitions
    • Aka has taken 4 companies total to ROWE
  • Low voluntary turnover
  • Minimal pandemic disruption

What WERE We Measuring?

  • Many proxies for work: on time, butt in seat, etc.
  • Most measures were things we worried about the non-performers
  • Energy spent endlessly trying to anticipate all possible scenarios
  • Even as a very small team, we were churning out policies in response

What DO We Measure?

  • What we should always have been measuring: outcomes
  • This is hard. It’s less hard with reduced abstraction.

What ROWE it Not

  • Do whatever you want whenever you want
  • Rejecting commitments (like meetings) 

What About…?

  • Abuse, too many people off at the same time, business hours, fairness etc…
  • In his 14 years of experience and 80ish people, he can only remember 2 instances of someone pushing the limits by a few days
  • There’s no “fairness” really – some roles require some things that others don’t
    • e. tech support is when others are working usually 9-5, while a copywriter can write at 3 am and it doesn’t matter

Pandemic

What Was New:

  • Deleted the office = 20% ^ Profit
  • New people have never met anyone in person
  • Support became the most important thing

Will ROWE work for you?

There Are 4 Buckets You Can Fall Into:

  • Collapse
    • e. restaurant, something you really need to deliver in person
  • Slightly Worse
  • About the Same
  • Better
    • Any of the bottom 3 should consider keeping ROWE

Physical workplaces are the obsession of entrepreneurs, a distributed one deserves as much attention. The office is just a “tool.”

“Remote work empowers those who produce and disempowers those who have succeeded by being excellent diplomats and poor workers.”

Things to Consider in the New World of Work

  • People hate the exercise of naked authority
    • If you’re forcing everyone to go back when they’ve been performing, they’re going to ask why? People don’t respond well to “because I said so.”
  • People now know the value of an extra 10 hours of personal time a week
  • Middle management needs to change or provide direct value
    • Because we’ve made these people in-office diplomats
    • We need to reroute them to be a lever to help others produce or they need to provide direct value
  • Now the whole world is your hiring pool

Business Leaders Have 3 Choices Right Now:

  • Resist
  • Adapt
  • Leverage this new work

A lot of CEOs are talking about “That certain something” about going to the office – but you have to figure out the cost of that “something”

Implementing ROWE

  • Proceed intentionally and build something for the new world and not the old one
    • Leaders need to not be reflexive and consider the workplace they want to create

Announce Your Intention

  • If you just let it happen, no one will know it’s happening
  • You may keep some people who are on the fence

They did a 3-month trial:

  • Gives you a fallback position
  • Lets resistors let their guard down

Choose Your Tools for Cultural Resonance

  • Stop worrying about minor costs for software that will have a major impact
  • $52 a month to make $75k/year employees happy

Build Workplaces Around People

  • Think of each person like you would a customer
  • Fair, but tailored
  • Not everything has to be perfectly “equal”
  • No two people are the same
  • What the role of middle management should be

Trust Begets Trust

  • As few rules as possible has the highest return
  • Each new rule creates a new path of natural resistance

Cost of Not Trying ROWE?

  • Not taking into consideration new possibilities

Resources

Why Managers Fear ROWE: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/07/work-from-home-benefits/619597/

OG Creators of ROWE: https://www.gorowe.com

Zapier Big Guide to Remote Work:
https://zapier.com/learn/remote-work/

Mike Landman in 2009 on How ROWE was Helping their Team:
https://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/stories/2009/09/28/smallb4.html?b=1254110400%5E2156551&s=sbc:1

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