Business Week has a nifty trend piece about the changing work culture at the Minnesota-based electronics retailer, Best Buy. According to the magazine, by the end of 2007, all 4000 workers at the company's Richfield HQ will be permanently relieved of that most odious burden of the working stiff, the time clock. Instead, under Best Buy's so-called "Results Only Work Environment," corporate employees will be judged strictly on the basis of what they accomplish, not the long hours they log (or don't log) in their cubicles.
More interesting yet is the manner in which this seismic shift took place:
Another thing about this experiment: It wasn't imposed from the top down. It began as a covert guerrilla action that spread virally and eventually became a revolution. So secret was the operation that Chief Executive Brad Anderson only learned the details two years after it began transforming his company. Such bottom-up, stealth innovation is exactly the kind of thing Anderson encourages. The Best Buy chief aims to keep innovating even when something is ostensibly working. "ROWE was an idea born and nurtured by a handful of passionate employees," he says. "It wasn't created as the result of some edict."
Will it work in the long run? Who knows? In the meantime, it's a good bet the Best Buy will see a dramatic uptick in job applications from golfers, anglers and other inveterate hooky-enthusiasts.