We’re curious.

What’s your experience with Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) and Hot Desking?

As Slade Group is about to reconfigure its Melbourne office and move to part hot desking, we’re interested in your experiences. Here are the pros and cons we’ve been able to uncover so far.

Results Only Work Environment is a management strategy where employees are evaluated on performance, not presence.

People can manage their work time according to demands on their total time Lack of ‘together-in-the-office’ time can translate into diminished team and cultural and values
People focus on results not presentee-ism and personal accountability takes a front seat. Employees who can’t self-manage, will fail to manage the liberties
Optimisation of office space and resources Poor quality control because of isolated work practices can be a negative for the organisation
People feel privileged to manage their work and personal time allocation and engagement increases. ROWE demands highly capable leadership because of the rare time together and that activity can slip between the cracks
Less commuting time equates to better financial and health outcomes and further productivity. ROWE doesn’t work for all, as some roles require time and attendance – this may be seen as a negative for those who can’t participate


Workstations are available for use by multiple employees who work from multiple locations not just ‘the office’ during fixed periods of time.

Productivity focus Other than a ‘locker’ there’s no defined personal space
It often goes hand in hand with more flexible work attendance guidelines  Difficulty for people to settle into a new spot every time 
A sense of modern work practices although time and attendance remains critical for some roles and careers such as GPs, teachers, cleaners, receptionists Desks left unclean, ergonomic re-adjustment
Employees mix with more people than their own previous pod of colleagues


We’d like to know your thoughts and experiences as both an employee and a leader.

Anita Ziemer

Anita is the Executive Director of Slade Group, and a member of the advisory board. In a career spanning roles working in government, not-for-profit, public company and the SME sector, Anita has a broad view of the landscape of Australians at work. Committed to making a difference in her professional and personal life, Anita is a Director of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing & Ideas, previous Chair of Melbourne Girls Grammar School, and a Non Executive Director of online men's lifestyle publisher Boss Hunting.

Anita Ziemer
Executive Director
Slade Group
Level 10, 333 Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: +61 3 9235 5100

Posted in The world @work
5 comments on “We’re curious.
  1. Olivia Holmes says:

    Great to hear! I am a big believer in agile work practices and the benefit they provide employees and businesses alike! We recently undertook a similar process at Teach First. We transformed our 450 person traditional office space to an agile hot desking environment with great success.

    We made this happen by

    1. Redesigning our office space to drive what we do, not where we sit 2. Introducing and encouraging flexible working patterns that give us more control over the way we work
    3. Ensuring our IT tools improve communication and collaboration
    4. Maintaining a greater focus on measuring performance by outcomes
    5. Facilitating a process of culture change across the organisation which was in line with our cultural statement – this included significant employee and leader training particularly around the notion of presentee-ism and managing performance by outcomes.

    Best of luck Slade Group!

  2. Alexis Foden says:

    I have a friend (and no not the imaginary type to cover my own identity). This friend finds that hot desking and the suggestion to work from home can be quite negative for the following reasons:
    They can find it hard to get a desk, and feel somewhat unsettled by being at a different desk each day.
    They feel that working from home is a way of transferring office costs to the employee – eg they end up using their own internet connection, utilities etc
    People tend to like to take Friday’s off for a work at home day which makes it a ghost town and not much can get done. This also requires putting out a memo to warn of an important meeting if it is to fall on a Friday.

    Myself, I like the idea of flexibility but not hot-desking. Even when I travel interstate for a couple of days a month I am usually lucky enough to get the same desk.

    • Anita Ziemer Anita Ziemer says:

      Thanks Alexis, it sounds like your friend has picked up on some of the critical elements. Hot desking can’t just be a physical manifestation but a change in total workplace/work style culture. That whole ‘optional Friday’ seems to be quite a theme and we’re looking at this and also how to overcome potential team culture dilution. As well we’re aware that productivity and flexibility are not mutually exclusive of business critical attendance requirements.
      And we still have more work to do too.

  3. Christine Fitzherbert says:

    Hot desking is not a new phenomenon and works well in advanced technology environments that are modern, comfortable, pleasant and well laid out. Few workplaces, even contemporary ones, meet that criteria (Microsoft in Sydney does so very effectively – but it’s technology support is excellent). Regrettably hot desking is often a euphenism for just cutting costs & reducing overheads. It can lead to a significant employee disengagement and disenfranchisement if not handled well or effectively. I think the notion of more workplace flexibility and shared spaces is a better way to improve workplace culture and commitment.

    • Anita Ziemer Anita Ziemer says:

      Thanks for your comments Christine. They seem to support a growing trend of insights and experiences. We’re planning on making the shift at the same time as we reconfigure our physical work spaces and also reconfigure what Slade’s world @work means with respect to engagement, trust, productivity, culture and flexibility. We already have a range of different full-time and part-time employee arrangements, and yet, that language (time related) alone seems to be ‘old school’, so ROWE and Agile Work seem much more appropriate, offering the flexibility we’re seeking in managing our professional and personal lives.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


The Slade Report provides valuable insight and discussion about the world at work from the most experienced and respected talent acquisition professionals.