Sometimes, I wonder – if I ran a startup, what would my office be like? What would the hours be like?  Would I have a dress code?  What rules would I set up?

In a perfect world, I would probably be a huge proponent of a six hour workday, from 8am until 2pm.  Why?  This would allow employees to knock out some errands they might have trouble completing otherwise.  Most workers end their day at 4:30 or 5 and, as a result, leave the office as most businesses are closing up for the day.  This would also keep parents from having to worry about after-school care for their kids.

I would toss a permanent dress code out the window.  I would much rather have someone focused on their work and not on how uncomfortable they are in their attire.  Who decided there had to be a such thing as business wear, anyway?  It was very likely someone in the business of selling suits.  The idea that not dressing “business casual” or not wearing a suit is unprofessional is ridiculous.  It’s an idea that will continue to hang around until change pushes it out.

What other rules would I have?  I like to think I’m a pretty fun guy who is also pretty creative.  I believe that social media is going to have a big impact on the way businesses operate.  So mixing those two, I would probably require that each employee spend some of their day interacting on industry-related blogs and conversing with clients through Twitter or other social networks.  I would have a company blog and my employees would take turns writing one post per day.  I’m a firm believer in transparency – a company tends to get the benefit of the doubt much more when trying to be transparent.  When one becomes more familiar with a company and those who work there, they are more forgiving if that company makes a mistake.

I am starting to see this culture change take shape in many of the new web startups.  There are quite a few these days (if you haven’t noticed) and each one wants to lure in the best talent possible.  To do that, they’ve had to offer a change from the typical corporate office culture and offer up something new and exciting.  These startups also realize that they are not starting out with brand recognition and will have to work extra hard to gain customer loyalty.  This is where transparency can really be effective.

You’ve learned all about the type of culture I’d want in my office.  What would you want in yours? Would you choose a newer school of thought or would you stick with old-school office culture?

2 thoughts on “Bringing change to office culture

  1. I work for a small engineering firm and our work environment is casual–blue jeans, shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, flip flops, tennis shoes. In addition to the casual dress code, each employee sets their own hours with the only stipulations being that you must complete 40 hours per week between Monday and Friday and that the schedule you choose cannot be changed for at least two weeks. I work 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with a half hour lunch Monday through Thursday and have a 3 day weekend. Having worked as a legal secretary for over 15+ years, in the 8-5, M-F world, this was definitely a great perk to my change in office careers. I've noticed that the atmosphere is more pleasant, morale higher and attitudes much better, which creates higher productivity.

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