First here's a re-post of the definition of ROWE from CultureRx's GoRowe.com website (emphasis added):
"Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) is a management strategy where employees are evaluated on performance, not presence."
Increasingly I've come to take issue with the "presence" aspect of ROWE. I believe it works against a healthy culture. How can you build a great team when that team is rarely together? Imagine a basketball team where everyone practices alone- how do you think they would compete against a team that practices together?
We are physical creatures and, as it's been proved many times, much of our communication is non-verbal. In my opinion Skype just doesn't make up the distance. Innovation, ideation and collaboration all degrade with distance. Not to say that you can't have a healthy mix of present/remote work. There are times when the best work is done heads down, with intense focus. I see that on my team all the time.
Truly exceptional companies put organizational health first. I believe this requires presence. ROWE advocates need to consider whether their adopted philosophy is damaging their most important asset- their health.