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Why this start-up CEO has employees build their own desks on day one

At OfferUp, a Seattle-based start-up that connects buyers and sellers looking to unload or purchase everything from sneakers to used cars, things are done differently.

For starters, every new hire builds their own desk and chair.

It's a tradition that co-founder and CEO Nick Huzar started two years ago. Since then, more than 80 of the company's 114 employees have assembled their own office space.

Nick Huzar
Source: Nick Huzar
Nick Huzar

"Partly, I got tired of building desks myself," says the CEO, who did the majority of the heavy lifting when the company was smaller. "One day, I thought, 'We're a start-up. People need to come here and be adaptable. When they walk in, they need to expect to get dirty.'"

The tradition also reinforces the idea that no one is better than anyone else, Huzar says: "You could be an intern or a VP of engineering. It doesn't matter — on day one, you're building your desk."

A new hire at OfferUp assembles his desk and chair.
Source: OfferUP
A new hire at OfferUp assembles his desk and chair.

Along with a company laptop, employee paperwork and an OfferUp T-shirt, new hires are greeted with two boxes: one filled with desk materials and the other filled with chair materials.

"We don't tell anyone about it before they first come in," the CEO explains. "That's the whole idea. You have to be adaptable at a start-up."

For the most part, new employees dive into the project, says Huzar. After all, when he hires, he looks for scrappiness: "We want people who aren't afraid to roll up their sleeves and work hard."