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Bamboo Detroit Co-Founder Shares Tips for Creating an Inspiring Shared Work Culture

Amanda Lewan

Amanda Lewan

Co-Founder and CEO at Bamboo
Amanda Lewan is co-founder and CEO of Bamboo Detroit, a real estate company building inclusive shared workspaces. Bamboo’s mission is to provide flexible workspace and inspire growth for entrepreneurs and creatives.
Amanda Lewan

It’s not every day people feel excited to lace up their boots and get to work. Well, maybe for entrepreneurs. We’re often inspired to persevere through the good times and the bad. But how do we create a culture that embodies our feeling of excitement? How do we create a feeling of connection and collaboration to inspire people to work alongside our passion with us?

For the past four years we’ve been perfecting the idea of building an inspired culture through our co-working space, Bamboo Detroit, one of Metro Detroit’s top shared work spaces for entrepreneurs. Bamboo isn’t just a shared office space. Our members choose to co-work for a sense of connection and support. Otherwise, they’d work from home or any plain old office. In a similar way, people choose to work together at your startup for a greater sense of purpose and support in their life’s goals and interests, too, rather than any old corporate gig.



Here are a few tips on how we cultivate an inspiring culture inside our workspace. Whether you’re working in a co-working community, or starting to build your own team culture, these tips should help your tribe feel a bit happier and inspired when working together.

    1. Put people first and invite them along for the ride. We always aim to put people first. That is, we think of our member’s perspectives every day as we build and operate our business. When we are planning events, sharing news or adjusting the temperature, we’re always thinking about how our people feel inside of the space. We invite their feedback to guide us. We empower them to host events with us. We partner with and support them. This helps them to build the culture alongside us. Do you empower your team to create cultural events and activities that bring your people together?
    2. Always be responsive, with a problem-solving attitude. Even though we’re inviting, not everyone is focusing on us. People are busy, and when issues arise, it’s our job to take care of them to keep everyone happy. Our team always has a responsive, problem-solving attitude. If we don’t have a solution, we’re working on one right away. We’re transparent. We ask for suggestions, too, and try to implement them along the way. Is there a problem solver at your office? Are they really listening and responding?
    3. Inclusion matters. There’s no exception for us here on this one. The more diverse of a community we build, the more innovative our startup teams will be. Inclusion is more than just a message. It’s how we interact every day. It’s being intentional and paying attention to everyone. We are purposefully diverse in our events, our speakers and our own team. We are intentional in listening and building bridges, and considerate to reach out to new communities. An inclusive culture we believe is a more creative one. It brings more perspectives to the table. It invites more people inside to collaborate together.
    4. Connect. Connect. Connect. As your team or community grows, it can be hard to keep them feeling connected. We try to check in with members when they arrive or visit during the week. We ask them how things are going and if there’s anything we can do. We think of who else they should meet, and offer to make introductions. The more active we are, the more they feel supported and encouraged. It’s important to try to assist with these connections. Often, they happen organically. In a larger space with a fast growing community, we need to be proactive. Our connections are most often done through community events, peer to peer support, in-person connections and casual check-ins with members.
    5. Invite new ideas to keep inspiration flowing. Over the years, we’ve built up a few steady meetups that have been successful for us, but we also try to be open to new ideas. A culture is a fluid thing. Topics, trends and new people coming into your culture with change what ideas are important to share and discuss. We try to be flexible with new topics, speakers and event styles, while always having are same steady meetups. This provides balance and excitement.


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