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Try choosing the Start workspace from the Control Panel. It's on the top right.
You can also choose it from Window > Workspace > Start
I work on a Mac (specifically, a late 2013 21.5" iMac, using Sierra OS v 10.12.6 (16G29)) at work, and upgraded to the new 2018 version a couple of days ago. Unfortunately, mine is doing the same thing -- not showing the Start workspace in InDesign when no docs are open, even though I have that option checked in the "General" section of the preferences.
I have uninstalled and re-installed it three times using the Creative Cloud desktop app, each time selecting the option that says NOT to save my preferences. Yet, each time I open the app after a clean install, the Start workspace still doesn't show. :-( I also noticed that when I try to manually select the "Start" workspace from the drop-down menu, the "Start" option is grayed out and not available to choose. This has happened consistently after each install.
Is there someplace in the system folder that Adobe has hidden preferences that I haven't located?? I have gone inside of the preference folder inside of my User folder and manually thrown away the file entitled "com.adobe.InDesign.plist" before each install. Any suggestions about what I can try now??
I'm having a similar problem.
When all documents are closed, my start screen is completely blank—no recent docs, no template choices, no help videos, nothing.
Recent documents still works, but the start screen is empty.