Take a moment to think of a time when the word “office” would conjure up images of bored men and women sitting at rows of grim-looking desks, working on lines of monotonous desktop computers and the managers in their more comfortable cubicles, totally locked away from all whom s/he managed. This was not too long back. Think of the start-up offices today and you tend to imagine them as subtly modified college campuses. Did these “upstart start-ups” actually cause this transition in how we view the workplace and the culture at work? Most would say yes and they are probably right.
No change is ever possible without disruption, small or large, sudden or prolonged. Most would argue that the “start-up culture” was born out of disruption too. That it arose like a phoenix out of the ashes of the already established work-culture. But, was this really a revolution? Was it an attempted and largely successful renaissance or was it just evolution? This was probably the only course that the development of the workplace could take.
You might also realize that the generation we belong to plays an important part in this. Millennials or the Gen Y are more suited to working in these attractive start-ups. With their idea of a friendly workplace, with their eased up dress regulations, fancy food dispensers every two steps away, game-zones, yoga-centers and gyms, beer o’clock Fridays and well-advertised slogans of workplace happiness, it sounds like a happy hour that never ends.
However, the picture is not as rosy as this everywhere. Still in vogue, the positive experiences at start-ups you hear about clearly weigh out the not-so-happy experiences. Not every start-up is a Facebook and not every start-up story is a fairytale. Some do crash and burn and die painful deaths and are soon forgotten. So, how necessary or relevant is this era of disruptive evolution?
There have been positive changes in the work culture, no doubt. In certain start-ups however, people find it difficult to define their culture, especially in companies that have a pretty small workforce. Six important aspects of the culture are:
- Core values,
- Talent strategy,
- Growth strategy and
In start-ups, defining all these features of the work-culture is the key to survival and successful functioning. Their take on all these aspects is what sets start-ups apart from their older counterparts. Though they are products of the established norms of work culture, start-ups are characterized by their essential difference from the age-old rules of play and are set to write their own rules.
Values of innovation, open communication and inclusiveness with regard to diversity are upheld at most start-ups and they seem to be working out for most. Whether this shift in work-culture is transient or here to stay, time will tell. A point to be noted is that these start-ups sure do manage to work hard amidst all the time and energy spent in partying hard!