Best Buy: Revolutionizing the Way Work Gets Done


Imagine a workplace where performance is judged on output—not hours worked. That's what Best Buy wanted to create with its Results Only Work Environment.

Imagine a workplace where your performance is judged solely on your output—not the hours you log in. A place where, as long as you get the work done (and done well), you can come in when you want, leave when you feel like it, and make your “office” wherever you choose. It’s not Office Space Heaven. It’s Best Buy headquarters in Minneapolis.

BusinessWeek devoted its Dec. 11 cover story, “Smashing the Clock,” to Best Buy’s “radical reshaping of the workplace.” The article talks about the company’s successful efforts to transform from a 1930s-style assembly-line mentality to a new way of working called ROWE: Results-Only Work Environment. As soon as I read this article, I thought, “Yes! This is so, so right!” Pretty much exactly what I’ve always wanted in a job.

My favorite part of the article is a picture of happy, satisfied, productive employees (moms included) living their lives guilt-free and doing their jobs:

There are no schedules. No mandatory meetings. No impression-management hustles. Work is no longer a place where you go, but something you do. It’s O.K. to take conference calls while you hunt, collaborate from your lakeside cabin, or log on after dinner so you can spend the afternoon with your kid.

The story explains how the concept of ROWE originated as a “covert guerilla action that spread virally and eventually became a revolution.” By two HR guys, no less! That blew my freakin’ mind. Anyhow, what helped sell the idea–other than the fact that the employees who tried it loved it–was that it actually worked.

Yeah, that’s right, old-school Bill Lumberghs of the world. Turnover plummeted. Productivity and employee engagement soared. That’s why all 4,000 corporate staffers will be on ROWE by the end of 2007. The company is even looking at ways to bring ROWE to Best Buy retail stores. How’s that for revolutionary? I’m not sure how they’re going to make it happen, but I’m all for trying.

So if all this sounds as awesome to you as it does to me, do something about it! Start a revolution in your own workplace. And if that doesn’t pan out, click to see if Best Buy is hiring.

5 thoughts on “Best Buy: Revolutionizing the Way Work Gets Done

  1. Wow. Working at a place that, although I love the work, the way the hourly employees are treated leaves a bit to be desired, this sounds like Heaven. Too many work places have people sitting there doing nothing, just logging hours on the clock, which is such a waste in my opinion. At one job, I was told often to “look busy,” even though I had nothing to do. But I had to sit there, because that’s the way the workplace typically works. *sigh* I wonder if more places will catch on to this mentality, or if too many lazy-butts will ruin the possibilities this kind of work environment could offer?

  2. I remember reading a story about Best Buy when I was shaping my proposal to go part-time. It was this TIME article:,9171,1083900,00.html

    The one thing I remember sticking out was how the non-parent workers kind of freaked out with the new ROWE policy. The only way they knew how to get-ahead and succeed was to work long hours, work during lunch, etc. With the new ROWE policy in place, that way of thinking was totally flipped on its head.

  3. Anonymous says:

    That sounds perfect for everyone in corporate. What about us in the retail store?! This was supposed to be in effect by 2007 for them. It’s 2009 and I have never heard such a thing. I would like to see one of these women take up a position in the store during thier entire pregnany and come back to work six weeks later leaving thier newborn behind. Not too appealing huh?

    1. annelisa weekes says:

      Amen…working in the retail store is a night mare after having a child

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.