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Workplace Fix-It: Grade Results Not Facetime

To fix it, they’ve created a results-only work environment they call, appropriately, ROWE. “If you can get your results in 20 hours a week— fine,” says Thompson, a mother of two. “If you do your best work at the beach— fine. ROWE isn’t about face time. It’s about well-defined goals and results, results, results.”

One of the things that plagues the corporate world is “sludge,” which Ressler and Thompson define as “any negative comment we make that serves to reinforce old ideas about how work gets done.”

A few examples:

• “Coming in at eleven again? Boy, I wish I had your hours.”
• “I wish I smoked. Then I could always be on break and never have to work.”
• “How in the world could John get a promotion? He’s never even here.”

“When we judge people—when we sludge them—we are expressing outdated attitudes about time and about what work looks like and how it gets done,” the authors say. “Another way of looking at sludge is as a kind of code for the status quo. We can’t come out and say what we want to say, so we talk around it. One of the things that makes sludge so dangerous is that it seems so small. We must eradicate sludge from the workplace.”