Best Buy Co, Inc., the Minnesota-based consumer electronics retailer, announced on March 4 that it will discontinue its workplace flexibility program (known as the Results-Only Workplace Environment or ROWE) for corporate employees. Best Buy's actions mirror those of the Silicon Valley-based Yahoo! Inc. in late February.
ROWE emphasized workplace productivity and team results over a "9 to 5" office culture. Since the program's 2005 implementation, Best Buy experienced decreased employee turnover and higher employee engagement. The program had been successfully adapted to other corporate environments and even to certain public employers. However, Best Buy's present corporate management seeks to emphasize face-to-face collaboration as a way to improve corporate performance.
While some analysts may see the restriction of workplace flexibility options as a growing corporate trend, others doubt whether it will spread to corporations where earnings and profits continue to grow. Both Yahoo! and Best Buy have been described as former giants struggling to remain at the forefront in their respective industries. It remains to be seen whether the strong recruitment and retention statistics and employee productivity measures shown under ROWE will continue under the new system's "command and control" approach.