A Melbourne based tech start-up is reshaping the traditional work week with emphasis on results over hours worked for its Generation Y workforce.
In a bid to shrug off the traditional regime of the 9-to-5 work week, software company Contact Light has adopted a Results Only Work Environment (ROWE), a workplace culture in which it doesn’t matter how many hours are worked as long as the desired results are achieved. How or when that work is accomplished is not important.
Co-founders, Mike Boyd and Jamie Skella, believe this paradigm shift to a new way of working will become more broadly adopted as new generations enter the workforce, in line with ongoing advances in technology.
Boyd, with a career spanning over 25 years in the advertising, media and digital sectors, says “Our focus is always firmly on the end result. I think more businesses should challenge the notion that projects and tasks need to be executed within a rigid, 9-to-5 schedule.”
“As a company that employs mostly millennials, empowered by today’s technology, it’s easier than ever for our team to work when and how they want. Tools like Slack and GitHub provide brilliant ways to collaborate easily from anywhere, which has been invaluable to growing our business. Not only does working like this improve the end result, but it lets people work when they will be most productive.”
Millennials (also known as the Millennial Generation or Generation Y) are in their 20s and early 30s and make up a significant proportion of young professionals. The findings from the latest annual global Deloitte Millennial Survey show millennials are struggling with employer loyalty due to a lack of leadership opportunities and workplace flexibility. Millennials form 25 percent of the global workforce and by 2025, they will account for as much as 75 percent.
Boyd says that managers can indeed improve company loyalty, as well as company performance, by providing that flexibility – which, thanks to modern tools, is now easier and more practical than ever before.
“Technology has changed the ways in which we can work. Embracing these new ways of working means a happier and more productive Millennial workforce. There’s plenty of research to suggest companies will need to readdress work practices if they want to attract, and more importantly keep, the top tech talent in the younger generations.”
Critics of ROWE say providing such freedoms mean employees will never show up for work, but Boyd says this simply doesn’t happen.
Instead, the opposite occurs, says Skella. “We see sky-high levels of commitment and a genuine care for business outcomes. Everyone wants what we do to be successful, because everyone wants to keep working like this. You can’t force inspiration or schedule creativity, so with a shared desire to do the absolute best you can by the business – irrespective of when you do it – we can keep an eye on the results instead of the clock.”
Skella argues that people should be rewarded for outcomes, not for minutes logged. “Should you pay an artist for the time it took them to paint, or for what they painted?” he explains. Employing this leadership philosophy has meant not just a higher quality of work, but ultimately, happier workers.
Concerns have emerged steadily over the lack of flexibility within Australian workplaces. A recent Officeworks survey showed 70 per cent of Australian workers believe flexible conditions would improve their work life balance and lead to a higher level of job satisfaction.