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Best Buy Institutes Extreme Flex Time 300

Posted by Zonk
from the now-that's-managing dept.
s31523 writes "The company I work at has a flex time policy where basically, you can come in and leave within a window of time, as long as you are in the office during 'core' hours (10am-2pm). Best Buy has gone extreme, they have completely banished traditional views of office hours. Citing a preference for results over time invested, the company has completely done away with schedules. No mandatory meetings. No impression-management hustles." From the article: "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. '[The 'results-only work environment'] was an idea born and nurtured by a handful of passionate employees,' he says. 'It wasn't created as the result of some edict.'" Sheesh. I work from home and even I have a schedule. Here's hoping it catches on.
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Best Buy Institutes Extreme Flex Time

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Best Buy still sucks.
  • by Nos. (179609) <andrew@theker r s . ca> on Thursday December 07, 2006 @05:59PM (#17153134) Homepage
    For some (hopefully most) people, this is ideal. They'll work when they find themselves to be most productive, which in turn, makes the company more productive. However, you'll always get a few individuals who take advantage of such a policy, and in some environments, they spoil it for the rest of us.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by eln (21727)
      Sure, it's fine so long as you never need to do any real-time collaboration. I don't do flex time, but my company does have a sizable office in India, and the people on my team there work during the Indian day (US night). It makes collaboration very difficult, since if you need some piece of information you either need to wake someone up in the middle of the night or send an email and wait until the next day for an answer.

      I suspect anyone that collaborates with anyone else is going to end up essentially w
      • by notbob (73229) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @06:42PM (#17153942) Homepage
        Solution here is simple... fire the people in India and go back to being a real American company with American workers.

        They'll eventually fire more Americans the longer you help them support the bastards in India.

        Just say no to out sourcing.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cayenne8 (626475)
          "Solution here is simple... fire the people in India and go back to being a real American company with American workers. They'll eventually fire more Americans the longer you help them support the bastards in India. Just say no to out sourcing."

          Damn...why is this marked flamebait? It is a valid opinion and plea IMHO.

          Moving jobs that the GP posted saying they were obviously made difficult due to collaboration being near impossible due to time differences. If they moved them back closer to home....that w

    • by aeoo (568706) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @06:31PM (#17153732) Journal
      It doesn't matter if Best Buy pays for the results. Who cares if someone spends the hours or doesn't? You got results, you got paid. You, as Best Buy, are willing to pay for some amount of results. How these results get accomplished is not really your concern as long as the consumer experience is not hurt in the process. If consumers are happy and the results they want are accomplished, then it really doesn't matter who did what when, and in fact, it's one less thing you need to manage.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by kinnell (607819)

        It doesn't matter if Best Buy pays for the results. Who cares if someone spends the hours or doesn't? You got results, you got paid. You, as Best Buy, are willing to pay for some amount of results.

        This reminds me of a story I heard about the first accountant to try Visicalc [wikipedia.org]. His reacton was somethng like "This is great - now I can do my entire week's work in an afternoon, and spend the rest of the week with my wife and kids". We all know how that worked out.

    • by sckeener (137243)
      For some (hopefully most) people, this is ideal. They'll work when they find themselves to be most productive, which in turn, makes the company more productive. However, you'll always get a few individuals who take advantage of such a policy, and in some environments, they spoil it for the rest of us.

      The problem is lawsuits.

      Take a small company with no HR. If someone is taking advantage of this policy, you fire them. In a large company with an HR, you have the 3 talks before that spoiler is gone....

      I hate
      • by slashbob22 (918040) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @06:50PM (#17154100)
        Ducks, Eagles and Wood? Good grief, you sound like a certain Simpson:

        One way to get rid of them is to tell 'em stories that don't go anywhere. Like the time we went over to Shelbyville during the war, I wore an onion on my belt....which was the style at the time...you couldn't get those white ones, you could only get those big yellow ones.................now where was I........oh yeah, the important thing was I was wearing an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time, you couldn't get those... (trails off)
        • by spun (1352)
          To make a long story short is a phrase who's origins are complicated and boring...
    • by grumpyman (849537)
      That's why communism didn't work.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by misleb (129952)
      What would ruin the system for me is not having coworkers available when you need them. Say what you want about the 9-5 grind, but at least you know your coworker will be there when you need them. (unless they are sick or on vacation, of course). With flex time, especially "extreme" flex time, work is often delayed because so and so doesn't come in until noon or they can't finish a project with you because they leave at 2pm.

      That said, it sure would be nice if more companies adopted this so that traffic woul
  • Is it just me... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bryansix (761547) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @06:00PM (#17153140) Homepage
    or does it sound like the CEO was basically forced to go along with this idea or it would look like he was a victim of mutiny? I mean he already heads up a company where employee theft or "shrink" as they like to call it is extremely high. Given the chance I bet any employee of Best Buy would gladly stab anyone at the Top just to make a quick buck.
    • Re:Is it just me... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @06:07PM (#17153308) Journal
      The first thing I thought was, "how can a CEO of a major corporation go for two years without knowing what is going on in the day to day operation?" Of course, then I wondered how it is that he couldn't have been fired for such a lack of knowledge. Finally, I realized he must be one slick bastard to keep his job while the entire company was running on a different schedule without his knowledge. Either that or he has a special file with pictures of all the board members doing horrible things to/with farm animals.

      Personally, I'm betting on the farm animals angle.
      • by coldtone (98189)
        The thing is everyone at the C level has been working extreme flex time for many years. Its hard to notice that your staff isn't keeping working 8 - 6 when you don't.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by coldtone (98189)
          Please let me rephrase

          Everyone at the C level has been on extreme flex time for year. It's hard to notice your staff isn't working 8 - 6 when you aren't.
          • Re:Is it just me... (Score:5, Informative)

            by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@ g m a i l . c om> on Thursday December 07, 2006 @06:28PM (#17153674) Journal
            It's my experience that this is the case in most places.

            My boss, a COO (COO == a CIO who also has machines that get actual grease on them under his authority), worked a big 3 days this week, including one day that was 11-6...I think I worked 9-8 on the same day.
            • by symbolic (11752)
              I think I worked 9-8 on the same day.

              So, you slept for an hour on company time and then called it a day?
        • Touche.

          Actually, I thought the same thing about his inability to see what was happening first hand. Most CxOs are supremely out of touch with the day to day runnings of the corporation. Still, I would expect that the filtering of programs and processes would have made it through the several layers of management it would take to hit the CEOs ears. Then again, it's possible that the lower management might have been fearful that top management would not approve of such an arrangement, and that's why the whole
    • That's kind of the way things should be, although if the strategy fails, it really should be his responsibility to whip everyone back into line.
    • by RyoShin (610051) <[tukaro] [at] [gmail.com]> on Thursday December 07, 2006 @07:08PM (#17154380) Homepage Journal
      Given the chance I bet any employee of Best Buy would gladly stab anyone at the Top just to make a quick buck.


      Yes, but they'd only make money if they mail in the rebate with a photocopy of the original stabbing impliment and the original bloody suit.
  • Ah, the bottom? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    From the bottom up? So does this mean the clerks at best buy can come in whenever now? And have been for years? Somehow I think this definition of 'bottom' is ... innaccurate.

    Also, some info missing from the summary.. Zonk's schedule follows:

    8:00 am-4:00 pm - Bash Sony.
  • if nobody is keeping any kind of regular hours, and you can't schedule a meeting, how can any sufficiently large group of people collaborate on anything? Maybe they use wikis or something else without the need for immediacy? (What would that do to the corporate culture?)
    • I think this is a terrible idea. It's very important to have a sense of community with your coworkers. If everyone sort of comes and goes as they please you lose this bond. Flex time is good, but if you take it too far like this things will fall apart. You can't have meetings. You can't find people who know a certain system if you need help. You get very isolated. It's very important to be able to have communication with your coworkers. This new policy won't last long. They should make at least a couple day
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by smallfries (601545)
        I've worked in this kind of environment for about five years. It started during my PhD, and then continued when I decided that I would stay within academia. The most important thing is how you measure output; measuring time in the office is a shitty metric that doesn't gain you anything. The article sounds as if Best Buy have this angle nailed, so they can measure productivity even if their staff are flitting in and out. In academia it's easy - you keep an eye on how many papers someone delivers.

        Meetings ca
        • I've worked in such an environment as well for the past 7 years. It helps that our group is project/task oriented rather then time-clock oriented. As long as the projects / tasks are getting done on schedule, without breaking the clock or working unreasonable hours, everyone is comfortable.

          My day tends towards working 8:30-noon, then a break for lunch, another 3-4 hours in the afternoon, a break for dinner, and maybe an hour during the evenings or on the weekend. It also helps that I telecommute the ma
    • if nobody is keeping any kind of regular hours, and you can't schedule a meeting, how can any sufficiently large group of people collaborate on anything?

      I don't see where it says you can't schedule a meeting. If you need to collaborate with someone face-to-face, then two of you figure out a time that you can both be in the same place to collaborate. If you're both being stubborn asses and can't agree on a time and place - well, that's what middle management is there to sort out.

      • It used to be when something came up you'd need to grab a few coworkers from their cubes and huddle round a monitor to get it fixed.

        I've been in situations where i'm the only one in a given time zone. It can easily take a day to schedule a meeting with three people in it - that sort of inefficiency isn't good.
    • My guess is that people would synchronize their calendars when necessary to ensure that productivity doesn't slip, because if it did, the upper brass would find out, and they'd lose their awesome flex time.

      The question now is whether the company will be able to sustain productivity, now that people know that upper management in on board with the flex time idea.

  • More Hours? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cliffhanger407 (974949) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @06:01PM (#17153162)
    The weird thing to consider is how much people end up working. I've found what when I'm working hard on a project and I approach it without a schedule, I end up working for a few extra hours without even noticing. It means that people keep their morale up while still maybe being willing to work more hours. Basically, this is taking salaried work to a whole new level: they acknowledge that people have responsibilities to maintain and judge them based on whether or not the job is done, rather than whether or not they are in the office at a given time. I say bravo. What will be weird is seeing if they can implement this in retail stores like one of the later paragraphs suggests.
    • by COMON$ (806135)
      You should come work for the gov't. You can slack off all day and never get fired as long as you make it in 0800 and leave at 1700. They will just promote you to make you somoene else's problem (Dilbert Principle). However if you work your ass off covering for the slackers you will get the same benefits but die younger from stress and low moral. In the end everyone hates the job you are doing anyway because you are in the gov't and regardless of Democratic or Republican control no one likes the agency yo
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by kryten_nl (863119)
        I just have one question; FBI, CIA or NSA? :)
        • by COMON$ (806135)
          State Law Enforce :) The three you mentioned pay extraordinarily compared to State.
      • by 19061969 (939279)
        I heard the civil service described as a "velvet-lined rut". Everyone is always talking of leaving, but very few make the break because the leave and other perks are just too good.
        • by COMON$ (806135)
          Ya and the worst part about it is, the longer you do civil service, the less capable you are of doing any other work. As there is no training, you are often promoted beyond your capabilities and unless you are a rare person, any personal initiative to learn on your own gets stripped right out of you because as soon as you learn something you have to wait 5 years to apply it at work. I am attempting to balance the learning curve by stressing myself in the private sector part time, there I get weird new si
  • Funny (Score:3, Funny)

    by TrappedByMyself (861094) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @06:02PM (#17153204)
    The local best Buy has gotten crappier over the last few years.
    They've gone from almost always having what I am looking for to almost never having what I am looking for.
    A simple USB mouse? Nope, just wireless and the $70 gamer mice. Off to Staples
    A new PC game? Nope, ours never seems to have games on release. Off to Eb Games
    A cheap cable? Nope, just a $50 Geek Squad version. Off to Wal-mart for the $10 version
    • by truckaxle (883149)
      Ha I went into my local Best Buy to buy a 9-pin serial cable. The clerk told me sorry they don't make those cables anymore and tried to sell me a USB cable instead.... Off to Radio Shack.
  • by LibertineR (591918) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @06:04PM (#17153236)
    Employees will have time to chase you into the parking lot in a desparate attempt to get you to agree to that extended warranty. Hell, they might even follow you home, bitches!
    • You finally figured out the Profit formula!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      If you realized these warranties were HALF of Best Buy's TOTAL profit....you might have a chasing program out of the corporate offices as well.

      The BB formula goes something like this....

      1) Lure People in with crap
      2) Annoy the crap out of them until they buy some low prices electronic item
      3) Coerce / dupe buyers in crappy extended warranties
      4) Profit !!!!!!!!!!!

      Congradulations my friend, you're one of the few on the Internet that have cracked the code..
  • by Wiseleo (15092) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @06:04PM (#17153242) Homepage
    I hate rigid schedules. They create traffic jams.
    • by RyoShin (610051)
      Interesting notion.

      If more companies in a set area went to a flexible schedule, I wonder how much that would fix traffic jams. Perhaps the amount of accidents would actually decrease as less cars are on the road at the same time.
    • by Lumpy (12016)
      I hate jobs that require you to actually travel to the office every day. I can do everything INCLUSING rebuild a SQL server from scratch from my dining room table over the net. (ip devices that let you see the actual screen and KVM output are cool! all you need is a lacky changing CD's for you)

      Yet the VP of IT was stupid and reprimanded me for not risking my life and driving 3 hours in a snowstorm so I could do it there....

      I wonder why I dont work ther eanymore.

      Anyways, most IT and all IS/CS can be done
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Wiseleo (15092)
        Same here.

        I hated rigid schedules to the point that I quit and started my own company. I saw it as an obsolete business model. My office building choice was primarily based on proximity to public transit. I wanted to be located directly adjacent to a BART station http://www.bart.gov/ [bart.gov]

        I am paying a premium price for it, but it takes cars off the road and gives people some extra time during commute to actually be productive rather than wasting time in traffic. In the long run, this will probably create a heada
  • A.K.A..... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by no_pets (881013) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @06:04PM (#17153244)
    ROWE, Results Only Work Environment. A.K.A. "Git-R-Dun". I'd be more efficient if I could leave sooner.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SydShamino (547793)
      I'd be more efficient if I could leave sooner.

      I'm not sure that's the right angle to take. This implies that you have a fixed set of tasks, and that you would do those tasks faster if it meant you could leave work when they were finished, regardless of how long they took to complete. It also means that your boss has already examined the tasks, examined you, and decided that they would take you a full day to do. (If this wasn't true, they would have given you more tasks.)

      In contrast, I think most self-dri
      • That reminds me of a Dilbert strip. Dilbert is in a meeting thinking about personal activities and how that is considered "work". Later he's in the shower thinking about how to solve a work problem and how this is considered "personal time".

        The way I would handle ROWE is usually take care of the fixed tasks assigned by my manager during my hours at work. Later, at home, I'd work on more "fun" things that interested me or helped to make my job more efficient.

        I can see how ROWE could make me a more effi
  • ...that little issue when I go in there with my step-dad to get him a laptop and I know more than the guy selling it to us.

    1. They need to ensure more than one register is open when there are 20 people on line.

    2. They need to ensure that the people they hire for the different departments actually know something about what they are selling. Not what they memorized from the training. Actual KNOWLEDGE.
    • by COMON$ (806135) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @06:11PM (#17153396) Journal
      Umm if they had actual knowledge I highly doubt they would be working the floor at a best buy for minimum wage.
      • by RyoShin (610051)
        THANK YOU.

        I keep hearing people complain about the people who work at Circuit City, or Best Buy, or even the freaking Wal-mart electronic department. They keep yammering about how these employees don't know what you're talking about, and you hit the reason on the head- those who do know what they're talking about have gone on to higher paying jobs. Maybe it's just an upscale electronics place, or maybe they're a sales rep to corporations or actually designing the units themselves.

        The only people who work at
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kthejoker (931838)
        But how hard would it be for them to offer bonuses, incremental pay raises, or free loot for employees who passed some basic knowledge-assessment tests?

        "Take the High-Definition Assessment Test, Earn $100"

        "Learn the Difference Between Macs and PCs, Get a 25 cents / hour raise"

        I could go on and on, but the point is, it's not hard to offer incentives for your employees to learn. They're just too cheap to do it.
  • In this capitalistic society for some reason, long hours equates to higher productivity in manager's minds. I work in the gov't (please hold back the boos, the holidays/vacation days flat out stomp any organization in this part of the country). So as badly as I want to move to private sector I just cant because taking the cut in holidays isnt worth it. And the last job I found at a university with similar benefits paid a laughable $11-$13 an hour for support. However the flex time kinda sucks as it is 8-5
  • by boldtbanan (905468) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @06:06PM (#17153290)
    I can't count how many times I've heard lip-service paid to 'results-only' performance reviews. It's a bunch of crap. Managers will still reward people they like and punish people they don't, regardless of performance. Schedules and 'face-time' will always have a huge impact on performance reviews and rewards, simply because if you work 8pm - 4am and work miracles, nobody will know that you were the one doing everything. For all they know (regardless of any paperwork saying you were responsible), it was the office gnomes that with their magical faerie dust that did all of the work.

    Like a lot of things, 'results-only' is great in theory, but almost impossible to implement in practice due to human nature.
  • by Control Group (105494) * on Thursday December 07, 2006 @06:07PM (#17153320) Homepage
    Good for them; it sounds like it's working out so far, and if the employees like it, then roll with it.

    But, at the risk of sounding like one of the old fogeys the article talks about, it's not for me, and for the reasons those old fogeys mention.

    a) I work better when at work. I don't like to work at home; one of the nice things about my 5 mile commute is that, if I have to get any significant work done "after hours," I can drive to the office and do it. My focus is better when I don't have my fiancee, my cats, my 360, my Wii, my stereo, my television, etc. around all tempting me to spend time with them, instead. Moreover, I don't want to be available for routine work 24/7 - I'm already "on call" for crises all the time, but it's with the understanding that I'm only to be bothered if it really is a crisis.

    b) There is a value to meetings - at least, some of them. We'd all love to completely ditch the useless all staff meetings that are pretty much just a productivity black hole, but some meetings are valuable. In my office, we have one weekly meeting just of the technology team - it's a tight group and a focused meeting. It's on the schedule from 1:00 - 2:00, but we've only actually been in the meeting until 2:00 once since I've been here. We all have pretty specialized jobs, but they all inter-relate. I'm the DBA, for example, and Dave is the storage architect. It's good to touch base on a regular basis to keep up with what's going on outside our fairly narrow areas.

    c) I'm not good on the phone. My hearing isn't what it could be, and I spend too much mental power on making sure I'm hearing what the other person is saying to really be processing well. Face to face, I can use rudimentary lip reading and body language to "fill in the gaps" without the mental effort.

    This, of course, is just the way I work - for people who don't have my hangups, this is a great system. But I'd end up working somewhere else, most likely.
    • by vertinox (846076)
      a) I work better when at work. I don't like to work at home; one of the nice things about my 5 mile commute is that,

      That is nice, I live no more than 10 miles, but if we hit rush hour expect 1+ hour commute. I feel sorry for the people that live 30-60 miles that drive here. I take it you do not live in a metropolitan area... Or at least one without bad commuting traffic.

      b) There is a value to meetings - at least, some of them.

      If it wasn't for a new "major change" in our policy meeting, I wouldn't be able to
      • by dknj (441802)
        Grandparent: keep working your 9-5 job
        Parent: find a job that you get to work from home or have flex hours.

        End of thread.
      • You're right; the city I live in (Madison, WI) has just over half a million people in its metro area. We do get congestion at rush hour (the streets are designed for roughly two thirds of the capacity they actually see), but it's not long-lasting and not, generally, catastrophic (barring, of course, major accidents, blizzards, fog that turns you inside out, etc).

        Most of our "meetings" are very informal two-to-five person get togethers in someone's office, and that works well for us. But we do have that one
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      I work better at work, I believe in meetings, and I'm terrible on the phone. But I'd love this type of schedule. I'd still come in to the office to do most of my work and I'd still be a big believer in once a week meetings. But I'd come in less than 40 hours most weeks, and I'd be able to work my schedule around the times my wife isn't able to take care of our son. The phone thing might be bad if my co-workers are never around when I need to ask questions, but I think they'd be willing to deal with me,
  • Research (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maverick_starstrider (1005987) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @06:08PM (#17153322)
    I usually work in research and I find this paradigm to be extremely appealing. The 9-5 think in research is complete bull. You don't get more insightful or innovative while being force to sit at your desk staring at a screen
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The 9-5 think in research is complete bull.

      Businesses seem to underestimate the effect of unnecessary 9-5 on morale and productivity.

      In my experience, 9-5 think is bull most of the time. I have had two jobs where 9-5 was mandated for spurious reasons even when other hours (or flex) had way more benefits. One job I had all the work was done 6am-2pm. There was literally nothing we were allowed to do after 2pm. But 9-5 was still mandated. I was so frustrated at our department being behind because I could not c

    • by iangoldby (552781)
      I completely agree. I do most of my best thinking in the shower, or on the way across the car park back to my car in the evening...

      There is a potentially serious problem though with paying people on results rather than on time spent. While time spent isn't a great metric of effort invested, finding even half-reasonable metrics of results achieved is even more difficult. This is of course particularly acute in research, where there is almost no way of measuring results, and even if there was, the result is r
  • by SocialEngineer (673690) <invertedpanda@NoSPam.gmail.com> on Thursday December 07, 2006 @06:09PM (#17153334) Homepage

    I work at a local newspaper, and we've already got this implemented!

    I work as late as necessary, as long as I work 8 hours (starting at 9 AM or earlier). Heck, the day before thanksgiving, I got to work from 9 AM until 12:20 AM Thanksgiving day! YEAH! I even go to SKIP MY LUNCH BREAK! As long as the paper gets done, they don't care how late I work! Well, if the paper is done, they usually want me to leave, or clock out, since they really don't want to pay overtime..

    Sarcasm aside, this is great. Wouldn't work in my industry, seeing as how we are usually pretty crunched for time as is.

  • From my experiences Best Buy employees lack the cranial capacity to be able to do anything for themselves, just try asking a question whose answer isn't in the product's sales pitch.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, 2006 @06:24PM (#17153600)

    This seems ideal for programmers like myself. I've got regular hours now, but in the beginning we had no set hours. That didn't mean less hours--often it meant 12+ hour days, but there was no question about when the time at which the work was done, as long as it was done in a timely manner. I've never experienced extreme flex where hours were not insane for other reasons.

    Anyway, it seems like this would work well as long as there are still some deadlines--get that new module coded by the end of the month, and it shouldn't matter that you finished in 3 weeks and took the last week off. Management can consider that last week a reward for effective work. They might decide you can handle more work on the next cycle, which can create an incentive for you to "fill out the month". So, management has to understand that dynamic, and not punish people for efficiency.

    On the other side of the equation, workers have to not deploy "filling out" and other obvious means of abuse. It seems like this has a better chance to work well if the employees are incentivised with something other than salary; namely, stock options. Then they are only hurting themselves if they hurt the comnpany, in theory. Of course, we all know that a division of a large corporation can perform well while the company overall performs poorly. That dilutes the stock option incentive, so it seems like incentives for a whole department could help (complete that upgrade in a week, the whole division gets extra pay or options).

    In order for it to work well, you need mature, self-directing workers.

    You also need workers with output that can be measured. I suspect that there are an awful lot of workers with no real output in our economy, or output that can't be measured (I'm pointing the finger at you, mid-level PHBs). A system like this could weed those guys out! OTOH, you can't apply a system like this to jobs like call-center technicians, floor sales, or even sales managers. A big part of those jobs is simply "being available". The fact that a sales rep hasn't taken a call or helped a customer for a few hours doesn't mean he wasn't doing his job--there was just no input he could act on to creat output.

  • by Cytlid (95255) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @06:30PM (#17153712)
    ...this is opposed to the old standby "Work All Days Evenly". A new ROWE vs WADE.
  • In my job, technically our company has core hours from 9am to 3pm but on Friday, management basically looks the other way. The place is a ghost town before 12 Noon. Occasionally, we have executives who like doing a 3pm Fri afternoon meeting and management has to go aorund the day before and threaten us if we don't show for the meeting. I still ignore the meeting since I have other plans and they usually announce the meeting the day before. I use "kids" as an excuse to blow off the meeting.
  • This model is only as effective as the employees you hire. (Really, every company is only as effective as the employees they hire, but I digress.)

    In the end you still have to fire your useless employees, and concentrate on hiring the useful ones. The ones that won't apply just to take advantage of the system.
  • Where? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @06:46PM (#17154010)

    Best Buy has employees?

    You mean those blue shirted people who just stand around?

    They *work* there? :-o

  • While I can't vouch for the effectiveness of Best Buy's system, I work for the federal government (Canada) and the work hours are pretty flexible. I can begin work anytime between 7am and 9am, and finish between 3pm and 5pm. This translates to everyone being available during the core hours (9-3) for meetings, etc., but the time you start / finish beyond that is at your discretion. It's very convenient, makes working a steady job less routine, and helps you avoid the 9-5'er traffic rush :)
  • The way it should be (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, 2006 @07:23PM (#17154630)
    I'm posting this anonymously because I'd rather not have what I'm about to say get back to where I work:

    I don't do jack shit at work.

    I'm a beginning programmer at my place of business (a facility that's part of a Fortune 500 company). I manage and build small web applications for internal use. I'm given a general time table for when it needs to be done, and pick a date within that time table to have it done by. My projects are done on time, and usually have more useful features than intially requested. But I only work maybe four (on average) of the eight or so hours I have to be at work. The rest of the time is spent fiddling around on Slashdot and other places, while looking behind my back to make sure I'm not being watched.

    Personally, I find it to be a complete waste of time. Sure, I could pick up some extra projects, or do some research on the side, or move my due dates up by weeks, but I don't see much of a future with this company (maybe two or three more years, at best), so I have no incentive. I would, however, work harder at work if I knew I wouldn't be there so long.

    This is the way I see it: If a person is paid salary, why do they have to be there for exactly 40 hours a week? If they can do all of their work in 20 hours, why force them to stick around? If an employee has more freedom to choose when they come and go, they'll have higher moral and thus better work output because they feel they have more control over their job and life (and they would). If they wanted to take a Friday off to see a kid at their sports game, they wouldn't have to worry about filling out forms or requesting time off- they just make sure their work is done the first four days, and inform people they'll be gone the fifth.

    Obviously, this kind of situation wouldn't work for all industries. Sales reps, for instance, would probably need to be in during certain hours so they can work with other companies and customers that still do the 9-5 shtick.

    But in this age where information can be shared instantly, where cell phones allow us to be reached almost anywhere and laptops to work from a range of places, why should we be constrained to one desk for a specified set of time if we can be as, if not more, productive without those chains?

    I hope this experiment works.
  • Cats (Score:3, Funny)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @09:59PM (#17156848) Journal
    The company I do programming for has a similar policy. I can start work any time of the day I want as long as I get in the full 16 hours.
  • job (Score:3, Informative)

    by robpoe (578975) on Friday December 08, 2006 @03:54AM (#17159422)
    I worked at a regional hospital chain for 2 years.

    What really blew was that they expected you in your seat .. 8 hours a day. Didn't matter if you worked or not -- you just had to be there.

    Some weeks I worked 40 hours. Some weeks I worked closer to 65. Nights, weekends. Anything to get the projects / fixes / whatever done.

    Problem was, in my 40 hour week, there were times that I only WORKED 15-20 hours. The rest of the time was walking from place to place, moving candy from a dish in one department to another, playing on the 'net, or just doing nothing at all and trying to keep from falling asleep.

    Towards the end, I started coming in when I wanted. I still got ALL my projects finished on time, helped my co-workers on stuff - and only worked 15-20 hours a week.

    Boss called me in and fired me .. Why? Because I wasn't there. No matter that I started being 65% more productive working FEWER hours..

    Aah well he was a jerk (still is, from what I hear)..

To err is human -- to blame it on a computer is even more so.

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