“The old thinking says ‘the longer it takes, the harder you’re working,” says Lynne Lancaster, a founder of BridgeWorks, a business consulting firm. “The new thinking is ‘if I know the job inside and out and I’m done faster than everyone else then why can’t I go home early?’ ”Sounds right to me. Don't you want to get the benefit of your ability to get things done fast? Don't you hate the employer who mainly wants to see that you're slogging away all the time? Don't you hate when you feel like that overseer is buried in your brain, criticizing you for every digression and inefficiency?
A few companies are taking the concept of “watch what I produce, not how I produce it” even further. At the headquarters of Best Buy in Minneapolis, for instance, the hot policy of the moment is called ROWE, short for Results Only Work Environment.
There workers can come in at four or leave at noon, or head for the movies in the middle of the day, or not even show up at all. It’s the work that matters, not the method. And, not incidentally, both output and job satisfaction have jumped wherever ROWE is tried.
In other words, what looks like wasting time from where you sit, could be a whirl of creative thought from where I sit. .. [A]ll the energy that’s been poured into trying to force everyone to work at the same pace and in the same way — it seems that’s the real waste of time.
By the way, this expresses some of the reason why I'm glad I'm a law professor and not a lawyer in a law firm that operates on a system of billable hours.