From Quirky Offices to Remote Working: A Guide to Working at a Start-Up


The face of business and employment is changing. Technology is allowing us to not only change the way that businesses work but also how people think about business. According to the Centre for Entrepreneurs, around 660,000 new businesses are started each year in the UK, transforming the demographics of business and showing just how much potential there is out there.

A lot of these businesses – many in the creative or media industries – have a far from traditional outlook on business and employment. Placing an emphasis on employee well-being and happiness, exploring creativity and thinking outside the box in terms of everything in their company – from where they are based on how they treat their employees.

If you are considering working for a start-up, you should expect the unexpected and forward-thinking and unconventional ways that things might work compared to more traditional businesses. With this in mind, here are some of the most common ideas which are being increasingly employed by start-ups:

Unconventional Work-Spaces

We are seeing more and more businesses – especially start-ups – using more unconventional spaces for offices. Start-ups. By their very definition don’t have tons of money to splash and so unconventional work-spaces are becoming increasing popular amongst fledgling businesses.

For example, trendy start-up companies are buying shipping containers, renovating them and then using as their work-spaces. The containers are up-cycled and fitted with all the mod-cons that are needed in a modern-day office, cost considerably less than renting a conventional office space, are low maintenance and can be stacked on top of each other. They’re also a pretty cool place to work – although not as chilly as they might seem.

Other businesses prefer to use co-working spaces, allowing them to use what they need, when they need to, mix up office locations, enjoy good facilities, as well as take advantage of the networking opportunities which come with being amongst other businesses and like-minded people.

For new businesses, especially in the creative and arts industries, co-working spaces are the new network functions. It opens the doors to different collaborations and meeting new people in your industry and others.

Remote Working

Another possibility that is coming out of the advancements of technology is allowing for remote working. This might mean that employees have the opportunity to spend a day every now and again outside of the office, or it might mean that employees can be permanently working remotely with a visit to see people every so often. It is usually the case that there is some sort of ‘central hub’ but how much time you spend there will often be down to you.

This largely depends on the job that you are doing – and, hopefully not about how much they can trust you. Forward-thinking companies tend to have attitudes that are linked to ensuring that their employees are happy and have as good a quality of life as possible. Cutting out commuting time means that employees can spend more time working, arrive refreshed after not having had a long commute, or can fit in taking kids to school (for example) – all important for employee happiness (and convenience). And remote working can be integral to this.

Office Games and Pets

For those who are based in offices, many start-ups are using quirkier ideas to promote creativity, productivity and enhance employee well-being. Google, for example – who, although are far from being a start-up have a similar ethos to many of them, have had an ‘allow you to bring your dog in’ policy for many years. There are, of course, rules which have to be followed, but this is obviously something that they believe works for their employees. They also have volleyball pits, table football, arcade games, free food, gyms and games in the office.

Experts believe that a happy workforce is a productive workforce and by giving them the chance to both de-stress and be happier, forward-thinking entrepreneurs believe that this is a great way to get creativity and productiveness out of their employees.


You will have almost certainly heard of flexi-time. This is where employees are given the freedom to choose the hours that they work – although often within a set of rules laid out by their employer. Employees are usually allowed to work the hours that they like as long as their work is done and done to a sufficient standard.

This means that employees are generally happier – as they are then able to fit their work in around their life, which then makes them a more effective employee.

There are many benefits to working for a start-up company for your own career. Perhaps having more responsibility than you would otherwise, maybe working in a more personal business who value personal relationships more and giving you the ability to grow alongside the company are all benefits, as well as working for a company which is usually more forward-thinking than traditional, well-established companies.

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