ROWEs are the brainchild of Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson, two former human resources executives at the American retailer Best Buy. ROWE’s principles marry the common sense pragmatism of Ben Franklin to the cage-rattling radicalism of American community organizer Saul Alinsky. In a ROWE workplace, people don’t have schedules. They show up when they want. They don’t have to be in the office at a certain time—or any time, for that matter. They just have to get their work done. How they do it, when they do it and where they do it is up to them.
This appealed to Gunther, who’s in his early thirties. “Management isn’t about walking around and seeing if people are in their offices,” he told me. “It’s about creating conditions for people to do their best work.” That’s why he’d always tried to give employees a long leash.