ROWE or Results-Only Work Environment


I love to follow Tim Ferriss’ lifestyle and blog. Who wouldn’t? Well, perhaps I shouldn’t go overboard, some of us might not be able to. I mean he is still single, no kids (that we know of) and pretty much does what he wants when he wants, where the majority of us are still tied down to a location, person or family. Anyway, before I get carried away on a tangent, when I checked out his blog looking for some excerpts from his book, I was happy to see a great post about implementing 4HWW in corporate environments.

Tim uses Best Buy as a corporate example and I was amazed to read how they implemented a strategy based upon the experiences of a new 24-year-old hire instead of a old, grizzled and wizened CEO.

What Best Buy implemented is called ROWE or Results-Only Work Environment, developed by Carl Ressler and co-developer Jody Thompson. Carl and Judy now have a consulting group called CultureRx.

In a ROWE employees are paid and rewarded for their results, rather than just the number of hours that are worked. In other words, there is no concrete set schedule of say 9 – 5. Instead, if there is work to be done then it simply must be done by a set deadline. Whether or not that work occurs at 10 in the morning or 2 in the morning makes no difference.

An excerpt from Tim’s interview:

In a ROWE, each person is free to do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as the work gets done. Currently, there are two authentic ROWE Fortune 100 retailer Best Buy Co, Inc. and J. A. Counter & Associates, a small brokerage firm in New Richmond, WI. At both organizations, the old rules that govern a traditional work environment core hours, face time, pointless meetings, etc. have been replaced by one rule: focus only on results.

…productivity has gone through the roof…


On the personal side, ROWE has transformed people’s lives. We’ve heard stories about ROWE saving marriages, allowing people to be better parents (and opened the door for some to actually be parents), get in shape and give back to their community.

That’s pretty powerful stuff. I would think that adopting this way of running a business probably pads the bottom line too with saving money on training rehires and the fact that work will actually get done as opposed to “pretending” it’s getting done.

For the full text of Tim’s entry, click here.


  1. As a committed lifestyle-over-workstyle business owner, I was really looking forward to the ROWE book. I hoped that it would help me to restructure my business as a Results-Only Work Environment for everyone that works at our office.

    In the end, I was hugely disappointed. “Cali and Jody” have put their consulting careers ahead of the ROWE idea itself, and have handicapped its development by publishing a 10-page memo in a 200-page form. The tagline for the book is ““No Schedules, No Meetings — No Joke”, but due to the complete lack of detail, the tag line should be: “No Tips, No Detail — No Help.”

    More of my thoughts on the ROWE book can be read here:


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