Best Buy Breaks All of the HR Rules: ‘It Works,’ They Say.

HR Policies & Procedures
by Stephen Bruce, PhD, PHR


Just when we thought we had the rules of the workplace down, is it time to eliminate them? We’ll tell you about a company breaking rules – and living to tell about it.


Tired of the 9-to-5 rat race and the “cubicle lifestyle”? You might consider applying for a job at Best Buy, Inc.


The hot electronics retailer has a ROWE—Results Only Work Environment—reports the website, workforce.com. Employees are free to set their own hours and decide whether to work at home, at the office, or at Starbucks®. Meetings are not optional, but they are virtual—attend in person, from home or from your boat. Exempt employees have few restrictions on how much they work—as long as they get the job done. (Nonexempt employees do have to track hours for FLSA pay purposes.)



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So far, the program applies mostly to staff workers. A Best Buy spokesperson admitted that it will be trickier at the store level, but they do intend to trickle the plan down to the stores as soon as they work out how to maintain necessary staffing.


‘I Don’t have to Look Like I’m Working’


Workers seem to like the program. They say they don’t have to spend any energy appearing to work. No more surrounding themselves with bogus piles of paper, or making sure the computer screen is always showing complex charts whenever the supervisor walks by.



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But managers like it, too. They say their job is now actually management—measuring results and assisting, training, and mentoring as needed. No more policing whether people are on time or how long their lunch break is.


According to the website, abcnews.go.com, ROWE participants especially appreciate that they can make time for family obligations without looking like they are shirking work. One manager was going to quit over conflicts with family obligations, but now has been able to stay working, thanks to ROWE’s flexibility.


So far, management says the system works. Turnover is down and productivity is up.


Would ROWE work for you? Use the Share Your Comments button below and let us know.



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