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Natural Awakenings

Happy Workers: Retailer Wakes to Flextime

Though flexible work schedules aren’t new, a twist on the idea at Best Buy known as a “results-only work environment” promises to transform corporate culture for the better. This new experiment seeks to demolish the age-old business dogma that equates physical presence with productivity. A more enlightened goal judges performance on output instead of hours. Staff can show up on a variable schedule to work their own peak hours and even leave early, whatever works to ensure that they’re able to function at their best.

Similar innovations at IBM, AT&T and Sun Microsystems demonstrate both that employees are happier and real estate expenses shrink as employers realize that it’s not necessary for everyone to be present at the same time. A recent study by Boston Consulting Group showed that 85 percent of the responding executives expect a big rise in the number of unleashed workers through the next five years. “This is like TiVo for your work,” says Jody Thompson, who developed the Best Buy program.


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