How a Startup Mentality Increases Productivity

Startups are famous for a certain mentality. Exciting, vibrant, innovative, the mentality of early stage startups can teach us a lot, regardless of the age and size of our businesses.

Co-founder of Startup Britain Michael Hayman believes that no business should never lose the startup mentality and you should act like a startup even if you’re a well established business…

“The start-up culture is about fierce activity, urgently undertaken with the keenest sense of its impact on the present. It galvanises young firms to achieve incredible feats through the power of belief.”

Most startups operate much differently than large, well-established companies, trying new workflows and policies that can teach companies of all sizes important lessons.

Here are 7 lessons you can learn from startups that will help you to increase your company’s productivity…

1. 9-5 isn’t for everyone

If you don’t test remote or flexible working, you could be missing a trick. Not everyone works best between 9 and 5 Monday to Friday, and forcing them to work then means you risk losing out on their most productive hours.

2. Not all productive work is done in the office

Just like some people work best during different hours, some people just aren’t as productive in the office as they are at home or their favourite coffee shop.

TA McCann, founder of Gist, first started allowing remote working when the company had too many employees to fit in the office. He implemented “Work-from-home-Thursdays” to get everyone working on a rotating desk schedule to stagger the days everyone came into the office. McCann soon discovered that remote working had additional benefits to making room in the office…

“After moving offices, they missed the quiet focus that the work-from-home days offered, so most team members now work from home one day a week. Consider exploring how at-home work days can boost productivity and happiness across the board.”

3. Work doesn’t have to be boring

“Startup culture” is synonymous with fun, interesting (okay, occasionally pretentious) offices, think Google’s sleep pods, slides, massage chairs and fireman’s poles.

While you don’t need to be the next Google in terms of company culture, there’s a lesson to be learned about creating a fun, interesting workspace to keep your employees engaged.

Why not try getting a pool or foosball table for your team to use on their breaks, or trial allowing dogs in the office (which research has suggested can actually increase productivity!)

4. Don’t be afraid of new tech

Young startups aren’t afraid of supporting their peers and trying new products and services to help them improve their workflows.

There are thousands of SaaS, mobile and desktop applications that can save you time and money and free up your team to work on other things.

Try FreeAgent for accounting (UK), Basecamp for project management, Buffer for scheduling social posts or Evernote for organising research and information.

5. Get creative

Startups are famous for taking risks and trying new things. Even if your business is well-established, you can still try to test new policies and procedures to improve your workflow.

Don’t be afraid to get creative and come up with (or ask your team to come up with) new procedures, even if you’ve never heard of anyone doing them before. Somebody has to invent these workflows and there’s no reason it can’t be you.

E-commerce software company Shopify took the concept of peer-to-peer feedback to a new level when they decided to crowdfund their bonus scheme. There’s no reason your company can’t try equally creative ways of boosting employees’ motivation and productivity.

6. Be open and transparent

Early stage startups tend to be open with their small, close-knit teams. Even as you grow, it’s important to keep your team up to date on your progress.

Understanding how they have played a part in your growth will help your team feel valued and understanding problems your company is facing could inspire them to find new ways to help.

“Transparency builds trust in accountability. Transparency increases productivity, gives your company integrity, and allows for a better sense of morale.” – Nathaniel Cotanch, Rock the Post

7. Stay close to your team

As your company grows you risk growing apart from your coworkers. While this is inevitable to a degree, losing these connections can be damaging to collaboration and can leave your team feeling unable to approach you with concerns and suggestions.

Diane Hessan, chairman of Communispace, believes staying close to your team will help them feel able to share any concerns about the company…

“Keeping close relationships with everyone at a large company is nearly impossible. But building a culture of mutual respect and openness fosters a positive work environment… It is amazing what employees will tell you when they feel that they know you.”

How do you keep the startup mentality alive in your company? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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