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shadow office space

Addressing shadow office spaces can enable landlords to turn a potentially negative situation into a positive one. By understanding its cause and using some creativity to address it, landlords can leverage these spaces to the benefit of the property and other tenants.

Understanding the Cause of Shadow Office Spaces

In order to address shadow office spaces, it’s helpful to first understand why they exist. There are two common causes for shadow office spaces: downsizing and virtual work environments. Most companies enter into long-term leases for office space. When they downsize, consolidate, or move their workforce to different locations, this leaves empty spaces behind. There is also a growing work-at-home (WAH) trend. As more companies adopt WAH policies, workers spend less time in the office and more time at home, leaving their office space seemingly empty most of the time. The offices are not technically vacant, but they certainly give the appearance of being so.

What to Do With Shadow Office Spaces

Think of shadow office spaces as an opportunity rather than a problem! Rather than leaving these spaces looking deserted, what can be done with them. Here are a few options to consider:

1- Convert the Space

Instead of empty desks, perhaps the space can be converted to some other use. For instance, adding some couches and meeting tables can make it optimal for employee collaboration. Re-arranging furniture might allow a room to double as meeting or training space. A ping-pong table might add a fun element to a work environment and give employees and opportunity to connect. As a landlord, you can encourage tenants to convert a space and maybe even assist with some ideas on how to do so.

2 – Sublease to Improve Tenant Mix

An open space can be an opportunity to bring in new tenants under subleasing. This can improve the building’s tenant mix, help with tenants’ bottom lines, and improve your ability to attract new tenants to other available spaces in the building. Your tenants is likely just as motivated to rent the space as you are to see it filled.

Results Through Creativity

By thinking outside of the box and using both creativity and collaborative effort, you can minimize the impact of shadow office spaces and turn it from a negative to a positive for both you and your tenants. Be sure to consider the potential for shadow office spaces in your lease terms. Although leases may or may not directly address it, certain provisions can better protect your interests in those and other circumstances. Contact ABG Realty for additional information and assistance with this and other Massachusetts commercial real estate topics.

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