How startup culture is redefining the workplace

How startup culture is redefining the workplace

How startup culture is redefining the workplace

In today’s competitive market for talent, company culture is everything. Today’s workers are looking for far more than just a salary and benefits, and are now in pursuit of a workplace that nurtures talent, offers progression. Office culture has shifted more towards collaboration, community, and equality. And the growing influence of startup culture has served as a driving force behind these changes. In recent years, startups have emerged as thought leaders when it comes to workplace dynamics. Even though people associate startups with beer on tap, flexible hours, and dog-friendly offices, startup culture is more than a gimmick, it is a new way of life.

It’s the people-centric approach and the open-minded work environment that sets startup culture apart from its corporate counterpart. It is also the reason why today one-in-three millennials will choose the startup journey over larger conglomerates. Company culture is the DNA of the organisation, and startup’s DNA is about empowerment, experience and empathy. Here are six ways startups are changing the rules of the workplace:


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Introducing startup office essentials

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A startup office space in Dalston. Staff can sit next to their desks or lounge in one of the breakout areas.


Today’s office space needs to have a soul and speak for the values it stands for. Having this in mind, the office space is something that has undergone a tremendous change, thanks to the startup mindset. A multipurpose space with a comfy vibe, in support of the environmental causes, has now become the default layout of a startup office. It also serves as an inspiration to all the others who are catching up with the trend. Common features include lounge areas, standing desks, focus booths, nap rooms, gaming activities, and an unlimited number of coffee machines. Coffee, coffee, and more coffee.

The overall idea is to create a working space that inspires creativity and reduces stress at the same time. Packed with comfortable decor to encourage overall productivity. Spotify raised the bar by introducing a karaoke room in the office space, helping employees explore their artistic side. But beyond the office’s physical appearance, startup culture also fosters a specific mentality that drives employees forward and keeps the enthusiasm throughout the long working hours.


Flexible working – an end to the nine-to-five

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The digital workforce doesn’t need much more than a laptop to get going


Work as we know it is coming to an end. The future of work is flexibility and the startups wrote the book on flexibility. The digital age has brought with it the option to work from anywhere and everywhere. Remote working and flexible hours are becoming the norm and are recognised as practices that can help improve the performance of entrepreneurs, employees, and companies as a whole. Startups were also quick to realise that offering agile working patterns has become increasingly important in the race for talent. As candidates place a high value on it. From improved work-life balance, greater autonomy to improved morale, flexible working schedules bring better results to the companies that adopt them.


Sustainability in startup culture

Environmental awareness is an important part of many startup cultures. From paperless offices to zero-waste policy, startups are heavily investing in the sustainable energy revolution, going in line with their employees’ standpoints on making the planet greener. Inspired by their views, startups have also developed a variety of eco-friendly products, making it easy for other companies to limit their carbon footprint. As a result, companies worldwide are becoming more mindful of their energy consumption and sourcing sustainable materials, minimising paper use, incentivising green purchases and installing energy-efficient appliances are now part of the mainstream. Startups also encourage their employees to change their commute routine, in an effort to reduce carbon emissions.

From initiating carpooling options to cycle-to-work schemes, startup culture is mixing a healthy lifestyle with sustainability. Some startups have even taken it to the next level and offer a “bike miles” reward system. Employees can track the miles they commute on bike and use them to redeem anything from retail discounts to days off. In the end, there is always the possibility to invest a small portion of the profit in local eco-friendly projects, or individual endeavours that aim to support the community and create a culture of sustainability.


Employee wellbeing in startups

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Startups culture has propelled employee wellbeing into the forefront of business strategy.


Did you know that the sedentary lifestyle now poses a greater threat to public health than obesity? Startups have crafted a culture that facilitates healthy habits and a management philosophy that makes it clear that employee health and wellbeing is of paramount importance. Accordingly, they have made investments in employee wellness programs, offering an array of onsite health services and rewarding employees for progress toward developing healthy habits, such as adding an exercise nook, yoga and meditation classes on-site, office healthy meals, etc. Moreover, startup workplace culture is one that prioritises mental health practices. Stress is a killer—of people and of productivity, so it is the company’s priority never to let the stress levels go over a certain point. But if it’s already past that point, they are ways to mitigate that.


Startup culture, investing in employees

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Investing in employees is key to business success.


From early on, startups have realised that investing in their employees is the smartest business decision they can make. Since day one, an employee at a startup will be offered a personal development plan. Continuing education, onsite training, professional courses and similar learning opportunities are encouraged and supported all the way. A well-designed professional development program contributes to employee motivation, engagement, and loyalty.

For that reason, startups make sure that everyone is continuously growing and reaching new heights at what they do. BlaBlaCar, the French carpooling startup, has even introduced BlaBlaSwap, a yearly office swap in another BlaBlaCar office for one week for each employee. At the same time, they are empowering their employees to do their best work autonomously rather than enforcing strict hierarchies. These tech-oriented workspaces are based on distributed responsibility and ownership and it’s paying off on a number of fronts.


Company culture is more than a ping-pong table

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The pool table in Canvas offices Shoreditch.


The mention of startup culture brings to mind many things. Greater freedom, free-flowing creativity, and talent diversity are among the first ones. And although these values are now the norm in the startup world, there is always someone who defines them, stands by them and lets them grow. The founder. Founders are the soul of the startup and the embodiment of the mission. It is up to the founders to offer an authentic environment that engages employees, allowing them to experience a sense of meaning and belonging. It is up to the founders to shift the conversation on matters like paid parental leave, generous vacation time and incentive programs. To give recognition of the work of every single employee, from interns to Heads of departments. And to convince the employees that together, they are changing the world.

Bright, playful and fun. A typical Shoreditch startup office space by Canvas.


About Canvas Offices

At Canvas offices, we provide office spaces for startups in London. Our flexible workspaces are custom designed for each company with inspiring layouts and designs. All our office spaces come with access to generous communal facilities and meeting rooms in all Canvas buildings. This means you can book a meeting room or use one of our lounges at no extra cost. We work with an extraordinary range of companies and startups that fill our buildings and make Canvas what it is. To book a viewing or enquire about office space prices and availability, get in touch and we’ll be glad to help.

Open plan offices in Shoreditch, London

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