Startup Culture Trends: The Good and the Bad

By Guest Author | startup culture | December 16, 2021

In the early stages of a startup, developing a company culture can be one of the most critical steps businesses can take. However, while many organizations focus on introducing company perks and working environments that are relevant and progressive, they can also lead to hindrances to productivity and create a less-than-adequate work-life balance.


This article will discuss some popular startup culture trends and the pros and cons associated with each trend.

Unlimited Vacation Policies

Unlimited vacation policies are becoming popular in the startup world. Some startups will allow employees to take as much time off as possible whenever they want. The thinking behind this policy is that employees can have a better work-life balance and ultimately be more productive throughout their week. However, some companies find that unlimited vacation leads to feelings of guilt when employees take time off. And, in some cases, if an employee does not feel comfortable taking vacation days, they may begin to resent the company culture and leave their job altogether.

Companies looking to implement unlimited vacation policies should evaluate the four following considerations before proceeding:

1 – Make it clear that employees are not required to take vacations, but they can if they want.
2 – Communicate the expectation of the company culture, so there is no ambiguity for any employees.
3 – Remember that not all employees have a work-life balance conducive to being away from the office for extended periods. It is essential to communicate a change in expectations of vacation days upfront and address any possible concerns an employee may have with taking vacations.
4 – If you’re going to implement unlimited vacation days, make sure you have a clear policy around how much notice needs to be given before taking off from work.

Remote or Hybrid Working Policies

Remote working or hybrid work policies are also becoming popular in the startup world. Some companies will allow employees to work from home, while others may require them to come into the office but set aside specific days where they can be allowed to work remotely for a few hours if their schedule allows it.

Many startups find success with remote working because of its ability to save money on real estate costs, reduce the number of distractions in an employee’s workday and eliminate commuting. They also find that using video conferencing technology allows the business to get the same amount of engagement with their employees as if they were in the office.

However, there are some disadvantages to having employees work remotely for extended periods. For example, employees may feel disconnected from their coworkers since they’re not working under one roof every day. In addition, if an employee is expected to be in the office for a certain number of days each week, but they’re not physically present to interact with their coworkers and managers, it can lead to lower morale.

Allowing Pets in the Workplace

Pets in the workplace have become a popular trend among many startups. Some companies will allow employees to bring their pets to work, while others may set aside specific days to come for a few hours if their schedule allows it.

Many organizations find great success by allowing animals into the office because of its ability to reduce stress and employees report feeling happier at work.

However, it is essential to remember that not everyone wants to interact with animals or be afraid of them. Also, pets can come into direct conflict with allergy sufferers in the office who find themselves exposed to more allergens than they’re used to. Therefore, businesses should take extra precautions to ensure that pet allergies are not an issue and set aside specific days where pets can come into the office if the decision has been made to allow it.

Enforcing Contactless Working Environments

Another popular trend among startups is enforcing contactless working environments. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, minimizing health risks in and out of the office has been essential. Creating contactless working environments using QR codes in kiosks, cubicles, registers, and other working equipment has proven beneficial for employees and visitors in many respects. However, there can be some adverse side effects to enforcing overly-strict contactless working environments as well.

For example, many employees have become used to having access to their files and folders on a computer or phone to work from wherever is most convenient for them. As a result, employees may find it challenging to adjust back into an office where everything has been taken away outside of their computer.

Also, contactless working environments are unproductive in specific settings. For example, some employees may move away from their desks or even leave the office altogether if they cannot work effectively in busier office spaces or have limited access to other professionals.

Office Recreation Rooms

Some companies are finding success by building recreation rooms for their employees to take breaks in. These spaces can include arcade games, ping pong tables, billiards, and similar work-related activities that help reduce stress through fun. Additionally, they make the office more of a community space where coworkers can interact outside of work hours or in their free time.

On the other hand, some employees may find these recreation rooms a hindrance when they need peace and productivity away from coworkers or managers. Additionally, companies shouldn’t be overloading on recreational activities for employees because this can become more distracting than empowering. Also, if too many amenities are provided, employees may become complacent with their work and begin to take these things for granted.

Casual Dress Codes

More companies are starting to adopt a more casual dress code, allowing their employees to wear whatever they see fit during work hours. This can be beneficial for organizations because it helps them attract top talent who might otherwise not want to show up every day wearing the same thing as everyone else.

On the other hand, there can be some negative side effects to a casual dress code. For example, employees may find themselves dressing more casually outside of work and paying less attention to their grooming or presentation overall, making them look unprofessional in front of clients and visitors.

In Summary

Many startup culture trends can be both positive and negative for employees. Some of these include enforcing contactless working environments, implementing office recreation rooms, or having a casual dress code. It is essential to keep in mind the pros and cons of each trend before adopting them at your company because not every idea will work for everyone’s needs. However, by applying the right ones at the appropriate time, you can strengthen your company’s culture and become more productive in the process.