When you walk into a new spacious office of sMedia, you won’t find a room of company’s CEO, Marshal Finch. In fact, you won’t find anyone’s room – sMedia has adopted an activity-based working.
“Our team can choose between a variety of different work stations, each designed for a specific activity – quiet space, sales call, brainstorming area etc.” Marshal says. “No one has a single dedicated workplace, but they can work in the kind of space that best supports the type of work they are doing on any given day.”
Marshal also isn’t expecting his employees to be at the office at all times. Since starting sMedia in 2011, he’s been a dedicated promoter of a results-only work environment, or ROWE.
What is a results-only work environment?
ROWE is a management strategy that focuses on team’s performance and results, not where and when they work.
“It’s about accountability and autonomy that modern employees crave,” says Stephanie Boon, Head of People and culture at sMedia. “We let go of the notion that the best-performing employees are sitting at their desks 9-5. Such flexibility allowed us to work with 70+ brilliant people in 16 countries.”
While some companies question the management style of ROWE, it certainly worked out for sMedia – the 30th fastest-growing company in Canada in 2019, and 1st fastest-growing company in Saskatchewan.
Having people at their assigned desks at all times gives a perception of work being done, but it doesn’t necessarily drive results. In ROWE, you may be away from your desk as long as clear and detailed goals and metrics are in place.
“Everyone is highly engaged in setting proper goals with their managers,” Marshal says. “You can take it further and call managers “result coaches” instead.”
Another advantage to ROWE is that this management style is better aligned with employees desire to have a work-life balance. “You don’t have to miss your children’s play or soccer games, or even your next gym session – you’re free to manage your own time as long as your results speak for itself,” says Stephanie.
Olga is based in Kyiv, Ukraine, and she’s been working with sMedia as a graphic designer for 1.5 years. She has a 13-years old and naturally wants to be highly involved in her daughter’s activities. “I can drop my daughter off at school and go back to work right after, regardless of what time it is,” Olga says. “sMedia has given me enough flexibility to have my own schedule – today, I took a break from designing to take an English lesson online. It’s about working smarter, not harder or during assigned hours.”
“You can be sure that Olga’s dedication doesn’t diminish with her flexible schedule,” Marshal says. “She’s pulled several all-nighters and moved us forward with her creative vision.”
sMedia is setting a new bar for how teams are expecting to be treated by their employees. Our new office is designed for a wide range of tasks — from enthusiastic collaboration to quiet focused work.