Start-up growth shaping UK office culture

Recent research shows that more people than ever are starting their own business, with the UK currently having 5 million micro-businesses, which account for 33 per cent of employment and 22 per cent of UK PLC’s turnover.

The research suggests that many people have started to work for themselves because the jobs market is uncertain, there is no longer such a thing as a ‘job for life’, and they do not want to work for a large business.

Modern business approaches, which many entrepreneurs have adopted, are also attractive to job seekers. Whereas big firms have processes and procedures for business activities, entrepreneurs tend to be more relaxed about their working day. Moreover, according to the research, many of today’s start-ups trust their employees to manage their own schedule, which is repaid with greater productivity and loyalty to the firm.

A good example of a forward-thinking approach to problem-solving, which many new businesses have adopted is the “sandbox”. This is a form of collaborative working between all levels of staff, which can be beneficial to everyone involved. As the report’s authors point out, while a business owner may have an innovative idea and goal for their business, when it comes to the practicalities, it is often the workers who understand the issues associated with the idea the best. If they all have access to one another, such as through communal workspace or via virtual brainstorming meetings, everyone can contribute and iron out any little niggles.

Being innovative by nature, the owners of start-ups often understand this need for everyone being able to see the big picture, and this also means that workers feel like they have a real stake in the business and work in a real team. Entrepreneurs also tend to be imaginative, so don’t just follow ‘accepted’ office routines.

The report concludes that employee-focused employment values, such as flexible hours, an attractive work environment, and transparent and open communication channels can reap rich rewards for a business, which in turn will benefit the economy.

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