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On the stand

By TIMES WIRES
Published December 7, 2006


Best Buy values output over schedule

At most companies, going AWOL during the day can be grounds for a pink slip. Not at Best Buy, says BusinessWeek. The nation's leading electronics retailer has embarked on a radical, "if risky," experiment to transform a culture once known for killer hours and herd-riding bosses. The endeavor, called ROWE - for "results-only work environment" - seeks to demolish decades-old business dogma that equates physical presence with productivity. "The goal at Best Buy is to judge performance on output instead of hours," says the magazine. "Hence, workers pulling into the company's amenity-packed headquarters at 2 p.m. aren't considered late. Nor are those pulling out at 2 p.m. seen as leaving early. There are no schedules. No mandatory meetings. No impression-management hustles. Work is no longer a place where you go, but something you do." This, says BusinessWeek, will "resolutely smash the clock."

We're not so strict on 'socially responsible'

Socially responsible mutual funds don't invest in industries such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling and defense, right? Well, maybe not. According to Smart Money, PaxWorld Funds, which manages $2.3-billion in assets, has dropped its zero-tolerance policy on alcohol, although shareholders will have the final say. The fund's proxy material cites "a need to change with the times," the magazine says. "Industry observers say the watershed event happened last winter when Starbucks - long a darling of socially responsible funds, announced it would start selling coffee drinks with whiskey king Jim Beam." This shift bothers some, but Smart Money says such moves "are likely to make socially responsible funds more popular as well as more successful."

YouTube will shape future of TV ads

Some industry experts say that Madison Avenue has seen the future of television advertising, "and it's broken beyond repair." But high-tech Wired says advertisers, who spent $67-billion on TV spots last year, have an alternative - it's YouTube, the upstart online video portal that Google just bought. According to Bob Garfield, editor at large for Advertising Age, YouTube is a threat to the television business. The future of TV advertising? "It isn't going to be pretty," Garfield wrote.