When I first read Professor Piderit's entry Best Buy's best bet: Results Oriented Work Environment about Best Buy workers being able to set their own hours, I thought to myself: "How are they going to keep the stores staffed on Friday and Saturday nights?"
Then, I actually listened to the audio of the NPR interview and realized it was their corporate workers doing that and not the people in the khakis and blue polo shirts. Now it makes entirely more sense.
There's quite a bit stirring about these more laisser-faire style work environments. Here in the TIS division of ITS, we have similar setups involving working remotely, non-standard business hours, attending meetings remotely, etc. It tends to work out well. As a matter of fact, I would say that efficiency has increased from my personal vantage point. I'm not sure if metrics are being pulled to study an increase or decrease in efficiency, but as far as I can tell, no projects have been slipping deadlines (well, except for maybe Oracle Collaboration Suite; but that project's been slipping deadlines for a while now).
Ricardo Semler, in his book The Seven-Day Weekend: Changing the Way Work Works, describes his company's, Semco's, policies:
- Employees set their own working hours
- Employees choose their own salaries
- Employees hire their own bosses
- All meetings are voluntary and open to everyone
- All employees rate their bosses twice a year (instead of the other way around) and all ratings are published
- Employees choose which leader they want to work under
- Etc. Buy the book to read more.
I like the idea that the traditional notions of management and hierarchies and "performance evaluations" are being shaken up. It's good that people are applying new logic, new thinking, and creativity into this age-old area. It certainly goes against the current tides where higher levels of management, like dry sponges, suck more and more control to their layer (micro-management, budget control, design decisions)... The "in" thing is apparently the consolidation of power to the executive branches; I'm happy to see the counter-culture.