7 Considerations for Launching ROWE at Your Company

by Jennifer Miller on October 1, 2012

in Leadership, Workplace Issues

Tech start up Funding Gates is completely sold on the ROWE management philosophy. I recently interviewed Funding Gates’ co-founder Ismail Cholak about leading a company using ROWE practices. I wondered: can larger companies realistically use the ROWE concepts? Ismail said that yes, even big companies like Best Buy are successfully using ROWE.

As we talked, Ismail provided some things to consider before jumping into ROWE. Statements in quotations are from Ismail.

It takes time. Realize this is a huge philosophical shift for both management and employees.  “It is my understanding from the people who have been practicing ROWE for a while that it can take a few years to transform into a ROWE environment.”

It takes commitment. “It requires unconditional support from the management; they need to be completely behind the project.”

You can test it out. Ismail’s opinion is that if you work in a large company, you can test drive the process a little bit at a time. “It is possible if the company is above a certain number of employees or there are several departments, then one department can try it while the others support the concept.”

Leadership has to release control. “Obviously, as a management philosophy, it is dramatically different. The number one thing that must happen is to give ownership to the employees, to everyone in the organization. There is less of a need for day to day management, but more need for vetting out the goals.”

You’re measuring different things. “A ROWE company needs talented managers who know how to evaluate performance. People will ask questions. How will they know if someone is producing and doing a good job? How will they measure? THAT is the hard part about ROWE. Everything is measured by results. How many hours they spend at work becomes irrelevant. It takes a significant change in [everyone’s] mindset.”

It’s all out in the open. “ROWE fosters a very transparent work environment. The environment creates and fosters such a tight knit team because everyone is involved in the process. Everyone knows what is going on in all departments. At the end, if the results are being measured properly, that will be greatly due to the talent of employees, the communication that is happening between employees and management and also the ability of the management to set those results right.”

Communicate, communicate, communicate. “Communication is everything. Talk about ROWE. Talk about the concepts, best practices, and everyone’s comfort levels. Ask employees: What do they think works? What doesn’t work?”


Thanks to Ismail Colak and to Meredith Wood, Community Manager at Funding Gates for generously providing real-life examples of how ROWE works at work.

Want to know more about “ROWE”? Check out the book that popularized the phrase on Amazon.


Disclosure statement:  It would be a real drag for the Feds to show up and haul me away, so I’m following the rules set forth by the FTC . Some of the links in the above post are affiliate links, meaning if you click on the link and purchase the item (looking is free), I will receive a commission. Hey, a girl’s gotta find a way to cover her blogging habit, right?


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Brad Morrill October 1, 2012 at 1:19 pm

I’m a big fan of ROWE having lived its implementation at corporate Best Buy some years ago. I’ll add one more observation. Most employees will love the freedom and will end of working even harder or longer to ensure they do good work and ensure they keep the ROWE benefits of time flexibility. Some employees can’t handle the lack of structure and either self-select out or are asked to leave. Either way, it’s a definite culture shift, for the better, in my opinion.

Jennifer Miller October 1, 2012 at 3:18 pm


Thanks for sharing your real-life experiences with ROWE. You make an interesting point about people self-selecting out.

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