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How To Create A Super Productive Office Culture At Your Startup

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Jun 15, 2015

Building culture at a startup is difficult. Mostly so because the team is small and everyone is too busy to pay attention to building culture. What happens as a result is pretty scary. Everyone gets done less and less. But as an early stage company you don’t have luxury of wasting anything let alone time. You get to play at your best. This is where culture comes in. You need to build an environment that facilitates doing more and achieving more.

These tips are not some arbitrary ideas rather something that many of today’s successful companies applied.

Be specific about the day.

People often find it difficult to decide what demands immediate attention since there seems to be too many things to do. Take this confusion off by making the goal clear for all. Everyone should have specific target and should know what their deliverables are.

Start with a planning meeting.

Start the day with a short planning meeting. This is for a little warm-up so that everyone gets a little serious. Discuss goals and everyone’s responsibilities. Keep the meeting short. Usually 10 minutes should work for a early stage team. You can try standing meeting format as well to keep the discussion in place.

Inspire doing.

Big offices are big dens of procrastination. A startup can’t afford that. You get to make progress daily. Create an environment where doer gets credits and gets appreciated. Everyone feel like accomplishing something.

Employ accountability.

Accountability inspires action. Once you need to tell what you did whole week, it is a little scary to report that you did not accomplish anything. In a recent article Nabila of Carmudi wrote, nobody tells us anything whole week about what to do, what not to do. But there is a weekly meeting where every team has to present their work and nobody would like to attend the meeting and report I did nothing.

Have fun.

Boring environment breeds boring work. It hampers productivity. Create an environment where people feel elevated and motivated. Make work fun and enjoyable. At Google they arrange for enough food, fun, and play that people work more than hundred hours a week.

Do it in team.

When calling a meeting, make it in team. Team is important for several reasons. It creates a sense of competition. When a teammate feels low and faces difficulties other teammates come forward and help her out. It is also good for accountability. A coworker seldom wants to report infront of her other coworkers that she did nothing last week.

Measure progress every day. 

End your day with a review meeting of what is being done. Bring the whole team and share accomplishments and challenges. It is a good practice for building a culture of urgency. Businesses are built in hard ways. More often than not, startups pay price for not focusing on building a culture. It does not kill your culture in the spot but it reduces growth potential.

Everyone works hard at a startup but working hard does not mean you are accomplishing more. To get more things done, you need to plan well, focus, and ultimately achieve your goal. Put conscious effort to build a culture that promotes productivity.


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Ibrahim works as an Intern at FS. He takes interviews, writes features, and meets entrepreneurs and makers and doers.

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