Going ROWE: The Final Step!

This is the final part of the ROWE interview I did, on our final session of the ROWE migration at Xpand. I explained what happened in Culture Clinic and what it feels like to goROWE!

So, the big day arrived and there was quite a buzz about the office! It was clear from the chatter stemming around the excitement for the Culture Clinic session and knowing we were about to fully goROWE!

After reflecting on the Sludge session, the 3 impediments (judgment, beliefs, and time), and the 13 ROWE Guideposts, it was good to hear that there was no Back Sludging (that nasty talk behind each other’s back). However, we realized all the Sludging was internalized. The team contributed willingly to share their Sludge-Fessions and the atmosphere was one of relief knowing “we are all in this together.”

“I really realised in the migration meetings what a huge change this was going to be. I got some flutters of excitement about how life was going to change, and I also noticed colleagues feeling the same thing – working through those sessions really drummed in that this wasn’t just a flexible working policy, but a concept and perception change to the way we view work”. – Kath Woof, Principal Consultant

We are going through a particularly busy time at the moment in Singapore and as Asia leads the world out of this recession, Xpand Singapore is at the forefront of helping that happen for businesses from a Technology, Media, and Communications Talent perspective. Fundamentally, we are growing which means looking at potential new office solutions in Singapore, opening an office in Hong Kong for clients in North Asia and China, finding the best Consultants to join us across the board and, of course, implementing ROWE and looking at solutions such as WorkSimple. These were just a few of the projects on top of running sales & operations for SEA in the here and now! So with ROWE in mind, I applied myself to arranging my days and evenings around getting the RESULTS I needed whilst still keeping an exercise routine (which was important as I had just come back from a long illness), seeing my wife, and enjoying life (huh, shock horror hey!). As it turned out, this often meant working the first part of the day from home and then going into the office to focus on activity in the city.

As an example, I am happy to share my own Sludge-Fessions. My Sludging came from the pit of my stomach. I am sadly my own worst Sludger. The team was great and as they shared Sludge-Fessions, sharing mine greatly helped me. The work I got done at home in the morning was tenfold – as it was done without distraction. However, the guilt was there every day. Despite being frantically and effectively busy at home, I began to feel nauseous as the time in the morning moved on – I had to get into work! What were people thinking? What if a client didn’t reach out to me on my mobile? What if they couldn’t see me on Skype? Guilt and fear drove me to pack up and move into the office at a time when it broke my flow. This may seem silly to you reading this, but I guarantee you, if you were brought up with a strict ideology around punctuality and then worked in a strictly timed office environment all your life, no matter how progressive and liberal you might think you are, the internal feelings you have when you go ROWE will completely surprise you!

After a short break, we moved onto the 2 games – “The Feud” and “Do Something Scary”. Both were really instrumental in the mind shift. For The Feud, we split into two teams – girls vs. boys. The girls kicked butt! Although in a fantastically cheesy way, I can say everyone won. Once we had gone through the Scary cards and wrapped up, everyone felt nervous but ready.

“We’ve always been told that the Xpand business is our business and with ROWE, it actually feels that way now. It’s amazing what happens when we take away ‘GOING TO WORK’ and switch it to ‘DOING WORK’ instead.” Lip Teck Choo – Senior Consultant

The old way of working 9-5, five days a week in a cubicle were officially behind us. There were still elements of fear, worry, anxiety etc held by all in varying degrees about what would happen and how we would cope, but that’s always the case with something new. That is the lizard brain (to borrow from Seth Godin) – fear of the unknown – and at Xpand our lizard brains are quieted – at Xpand we ship!

At Xpand, we ROWE!!!

Next time I’ll be posting about what it’s like in a ROWE nearly one year on!


About Rob Fanshawe

Currently MD, Asia for Xpand Group, living in Singapore with his wife and dog (golden retriever), his passion in life is simple, “people”. He loves everything to do with meeting and understanding them to helping them and businesses realise their potential through the resulting positive connections.

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