I've been reading the Small Business 2.0 Blog and thought that this might be an interesting thing to discuss.
That is the gist of it - getting the work done. I'm trying to structure my business in a way that does not require everyone to be "at the office" for 40hrs a week, so this is particularly close to my heart.I read this interesting article called "smashing the clock" in BusinessWeek about BestBuy's corporate-wide ROWE Program which stands for Results Only Work Environment. Here's the way BestBuy describes what ROWE means to them: "The official policy for this post-face-time, location-agnostic way of working is that people are free to work wherever they want, whenever they want, as long as they get their work done."
The Changing Nature of "Work" on Small Business 2.0
The nature of my business at the moment is very much a knowledge worker setup, with just about everything shareable via internet/email/etc.
Obviously a decentralised worker setup has challenges and will suit certain people better than others. I found the particular way of doing things for Small Business 2.0 quite interesting,
So, what are the barriers to this?When we are in the office, we do not work in cubicles or offices, we all work in a large conference room facing each other. I often will write a list of things we need to get done on a whiteboard at the beginning of the session. We tend to bring each item up, talk about the item, do a bit of research, talk about it some more, make a decision, and move on to the next one.
From a work/privacy perspective, our environment is kind of interesting. Most companies of our size have either five cubicles or five offices clustered together where people work 40+ hours a week in their office/cubicle. This type of work environment is rather restrictive in terms of privacy all of the time. My personal work environment is about 45 hours a week working alone (and via email/telephone) and 20 hours a week working with no privacy -- sitting around a table with my co-workers able to see and hear my every move. It is not for everyone, but I think I get a ton more done by having a lot of privacy to think hard for most of my week and no privacy for part of my week vs. limited privacy the entire week.
I think that one of the things that stops people from going this route is that the "boss" thinks he is losing control - what is everyone doing? what is the money I'm paying getting me? etc.