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December 14, 2006

You Don't Need to Show Up at Work if You Work at Best Buy

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/14/2006 05:56:00 PM
You don't need to show up at work if you work at Best Buy.
Employees at Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE BBY) has something to cheer for the holidays: There will be henceforth no more meetings and no more schedules at Best Buy. As a matter of fact, some no longer even have an office - no they haven't been laid off. They've been given more freedom over their schedules and their work.

At most companies, going AWOL during daylight hours would be grounds for a pink slip. Not at Best Buy. The nation's leading electronics retailer has embarked on a radical--if risky--experiment to transform a culture once known for killer hours and herd-riding bosses. The endeavor, called ROWE, for "results-only work environment," seeks to demolish decades-old business dogma that equates physical presence with productivity. The goal at Best Buy is to judge performance on output instead of hours.

Hence workers pulling into the company's amenity-packed headquarters at 2 p.m. aren't considered late. Nor are those pulling out at 2 p.m. seen as leaving early. 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 strategy sounds like it was picked right out of a startup manual. Give your employees freedom to do their work, get it done - anyway.

By the end of 2007, all corporate employees at Best Buy will be on the program. Best Buy notes that productivity is up an average 35% in departments that have switched to ROWE.

Hate being teathered to your desk during business hours? Go get a job at Best Buy.

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