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Flexible Workspaces: A Workforce Retention Solution


As companies continue to navigate how to best serve their people, employer and employee expectations have shifted.

Business leaders are adapting to the evolving working world, and employees have started thinking about how their workplace aligns with their values and encourages a flexible work-life balance. Nearly 97% of workers surveyed by the Harvard Business Review said they consider the ability to work flexibly a key component of their job.

Additionally, workspaces that offer modern amenities such as outdoor spaces and hospitality services will continue to attract and retain tenants 12% more than their competitors.

Though most employers find it difficult to recruit skilled workers, having a space that allows for flexibility and provides desirable amenities is essential for not only employees to be satisfied, but for employers to retain top talent.  

“At CIC, we help both startups and large companies create a work environment that appeals to the talent they need,” said Mark Moreau, general manager at CIC's Innovation Campuses in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts. “It's very hard to recruit talent right now, and we bring an enticing and flexible physical space plus social and business-related programming that makes recruitment and retention a lot easier. Our space continues to resonate as our client base evolves, including increasingly more mid- to large size companies.”

CIC builds and operates flexible office and coworking spaces for companies of all sizes in all sectors. Starting with just 3K SF almost 25 years ago in Cambridge, the firm now operates eight offices and more than 1M SF of shared workspace, wet labs and event space in the United States, Europe and Asia.

CIC works to make sure that needs are met for all clients and businesses occupying space at its locations, often exceeding expectations. 

“CIC working spaces are all-inclusive,” he said. “We have a concierge, printing and copying services, phones, technical support, community kitchens and conference rooms available to our clients.”

But what makes CIC stand out is its built-in community network and robust calendar of events and social programming, he said.

CIC hosts a mix of daily activities at its facilities. Some events are geared toward specific industries, while others are for the entire CIC community to join, giving workers the opportunity to socialize and foster meaningful workplace connections, he said.

Building and nurturing professional relationships facilitates partnerships between businesses, pushing innovation. That’s why at all CIC workspaces, clients have the ability to access an in-house relationship manager, Moreau said.

“Our relationship managers know our clients on a personal level and have a thorough understanding of the community and can facilitate introductions,” he said.

Workplace collaboration, whether it takes place in the office or remotely, is not only something that employees value, but something that drives innovation, morale and efficiency. According to a study from Queens University of Charlotte, 75% of surveyed employers believed that teamwork is “very important” to their business. CIC’s model offers clients the opportunity to individualize their offices to maximize internal teamwork while also taking advantage of its built-in community, engaging with employees at other companies in meaningful ways. 

Since the pandemic, the idea of flexible working spaces has become more attractive to a number of midsized to large companies, in addition to the small startups normally associated with this type of workspace, he said. These companies are being pushed by increasing hybrid work needs. They are moving away from long-term leases and are flocking toward the flexibility and amenities that have been traditionally offered by coworking operators.

Attracted to its ability to scale space up and down on demand, Holcim, a global building materials company, came to CIC to set up Holcim MAQER, a program that forges partnerships between innovative startups and Holcim, Moreau said. Traditionally, a big company like Holcim would sublease a fixed amount of square footage for the duration of the lease, regardless of whether it continued to need the space or not. At CIC, Holcim MAQER can now pay for a space that suits its present needs, with the knowledge that it can grow or shrink that space as needed as its programs evolve, he said.

Moreau noted that due to the influx of larger companies displaying interest in CIC’s business model, the firm has had to adjust how it partners with brokers. 

“Working with brokers is now a very important part of our business,” he said. “We’re committed to streamlining the search for the ideal office space and collaborating with brokers to find the right solution with tailored workspace options, pricing analysis and seamless onboarding for their clients. To that effect, CIC offers two commission options with additional opportunities for renewals and expansions as part of its competitive broker package.”

When he started working at CIC 16 years ago, coworking was often a misspelled word because of how uncommon the concept was, Moreau said. Google would constantly mark "coworking" as incorrect because the idea was previously unheard of.

“Nowadays, coworking and models that expand on the concept such as CIC’s innovation campuses is something that's not only widely accepted, but may become the new norm,” he said. “CIC is here to help companies of all shapes and sizes navigate their flex work journeys and find the ideal environment for businesses to thrive.”

This article was produced in collaboration between CIC and Studio B. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

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