8 Commercial Lease Tips during COVID-19

8 commercial lease tips during covid-19 pandemic

 

The ongoing pandemic has forced a seemingly countless number of businesses to close or limit their hours of operation.  However, there is light at the end of the tunnel.  The outlook is good for the pandemic to end at some point in 2021, presenting an opportunity for business to return to a level of normalcy.  Let’s take a look at a couple helpful commercial lease tips for Clifton Park business owners during the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus Clauses

The pandemic has given birth to corona virus clauses in commercial leases.  New terms added to leases will address global pandemics for posterity’s sake.  When in doubt, lean on your attorney for advice.  A lawyer will analyze the commercial lease’s COVID provisions and determine each party’s specific responsibilities.

Maintain a Dialogue 

The pandemic has had an impact on commercial leases.  Both business owners who want to renew their lease and those who are new tenants should take a close look at the commercial lease agreement language.  Speak to the lessor in a forthright manner to keep the lines of communication open as they pertain to the commercial space for rent.  The expectation is for the lessor to address any questions and concerns ranging from guidelines and safety protocols to insurance risks and more.

Space for Social Distancing

Consider the amount of space necessary to socially distance within the facility.  Though the current pandemic will likely come under control this year, there is no guarantee another will not occur in the future.  Consider whether your commercial property for rent has enough space to add barriers between workstations.  Is there ample room to maintain six feet of distance?  If not, consider another commercial property.

Consider the Flexibility and Length of the Lease

If you are thinking about exiting a commercial lease contract, remaining in the current lease or finding a completely new space, it is important that you first review the contract’s terms.  The contract’s term-end date is particularly important.  Find out if an abbreviated time frame for the lease (or flexibility in another form) is available in the event that your company’s needs shift in the months ahead.

Alterations in the Context of Operations

Coronavirus precautions such as no-touch hand soap dispensers/sanitizer dispensers along with heightened maintenance and nuanced rules for custodial staff will likely be implemented. This is especially true in cases where the landlord handles the site’s maintenance and cleaning.  Such alterations might have to be shared with tenants in accordance with the language of the lease agreement.  In fact, there might even be a lease addendum, in the event that someone contracts the virus.  It is important that you are aware of such policies well ahead of time, so you can react appropriately.

Good Faith

For existing tenants, a landlord might be open to keeping a lease going, during lean times.  If you can’t pay the rent in full, perhaps you can work out a payment agreement. If an agreement is reached, stick to the terms; pay the rent and work through the difficult times in order to avoid further disruption to your business. 

Think Long-term as Opposed to Short-term

You are your best advocate.  Be crystal clear about what you bring to the table as a tenant.  If you have a record of paying your rent in full and on time, highlight that when speaking to the landlord.  After all, many businesses are struggling to pay the rent during the pandemic. If you are flush with cash, you are the ideal tenant. 

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Disadvantages of Working from Home

Over the past decade, technology has made it easier than ever to work from home. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, companies throughout the world started to shift their workforce to a work from home model. And although there may be some advantages to working from home, there are plenty of disadvantages that many people don’t consider.

While the flexibility of working from home can be convenient, it’s still a good idea for companies to keep their office rentals active. Giving your employees the option to come in and work in an office when they need it can have huge benefits for both your company productivity and your team members’ mental health. Here are some of the biggest disadvantages of working from home that every company should be aware of.

Communication Difficulties

One of the biggest disadvantages of working from home for many people is that it is more difficult to communicate with your team members. You can’t just walk over to your coworker’s desk and ask them a question – you need to do it through email, instant messenger, or video chat. While there are huge benefits to all of these technologies, they can also be limiting. For example, it is much more difficult to communicate emotion and tone in an email than it is in person. Many people also interpret humor differently in an instant message than they would in a face-to-face conversation.

These small communication roadblocks can lead to bigger problems over time. It often takes more time to complete a collaborative task online than it would in person, which can decrease your company’s productivity over time. Additionally, it can be very challenging to brainstorm and come up with new ideas as a group when you’re spread out, which can ultimately lead to a lack of creativity.

For teams that use video chat, there are a wide range of challenges associated with these new video platforms. The pandemic has given us the term ‘Zoom fatigue’, which is a feeling of exhaustion that many people experience after a long day of Zoom meetings. Lagging internet connections can make it hard to hear your colleagues, and large group meetings often end with coworkers talking over each other. Additionally, many people feel self-conscious in front of the camera, which could inhibit their ability to contribute to the team in the long term.

Mental Health Challenges

While some people thrive when working from home, others struggle with their mental health. This can be particularly true for extroverts, who thrive in the company of others. Working from home requires you to spend several hours alone each day, which can start to wear on even the most introverted people after a while. Cabin fever can start to make employees feel lonely or even depressed, especially if they don’t have an established routine outside of work. It takes a huge amount of discipline to work on your own every day, and over time, that can become very exhausting.

Difficulty Bonding With Team Members

Another major struggle that many people experience while working from home is a difficulty bonding with their team members. This is a particularly large challenge for anyone who is starting a new job from home and doesn’t get to meet their coworkers in person. It can be very difficult to build camaraderie without spending time together, and over time this can have a negative effect on morale. If you have remote workers on your team, it’s important to bring them together for social engagements on a regular basis to make sure they feel included and supported. Having the chance to network and build social connections will be a key part of their success in the job.

Work-Life Balance Struggles

It’s very common to struggle with work-life balance when spending all your time at home. When there’s no physical separation between your work and the rest of your life, it can be easy to start feeling like you have to be working all the time. Over time, this can lead to irritability and burnout.

Alternatively, there are plenty of distractions at home that employees just don’t have when they’re spending time in the office. Remote workers who live with family or roommates might find themselves easily distracted by other people at home, particularly if they live in a loud environment. It can be particularly challenging to stay focused if they have children or pets that they need to attend to throughout the day. If you’re trying to work in a home that’s full of distractions, it can make even basic work tasks feel more stressful.

Lack Of Space

The lack of a comfortable space to work can make things very challenging for remote workers. Not everyone has access to a home office, especially if they live in a small apartment. If you don’t have a designated work space, you may find yourself trying to work from a couch, dining room table, or even your bed. This can get very uncomfortable if you’re working for eight hours a day, and can also make it difficult to relax when the workday is over.

Additionally, many people working from home do not have the electronic equipment they need to get their work done successfully. Not everyone has a printer or fax machine, for example. Their internet connection at home could be weaker than the one they have in the office. If you require additional data security, this can be even more challenging to replicate at home.

While working from home is a viable option for some employees, it’s not going to work for every job or every personality type. It’s important for companies to be aware of the disadvantages of working from home, and consider them before asking employees to make the switch to remote work. Having a designated office rental in Clifton Park, NY gives your employees a designated place to collaborate and be productive. Giving your team the flexibility to come into the office when necessary can improve morale and even increase productivity.

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Preserve a Team Environment: Safe Office Space Layouts for a COVID-19 World

This year has been full of unique challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies in every industry have had to be creative in order to go back to work without sacrificing their employees’ health in the process. There are many benefits to working together in the office – but you’ll need to make sure that you are able to keep your team socially distanced while you do so. Here are some of the benefits of working together in person – and office layout ideas that will help you do so safely.

Advantages of Working in An Office

Although working from home has become very common, there are still many advantages to working in a traditional office space. Here’s why so many companies are still opting for office rentals

Creativity and Collaboration

Working in an office space with others fosters creativity. When your team has the ability to collaborate in person, it’s much easier to brainstorm and expand on each other’s ideas. This feeling of collaboration is difficult to replicate virtually. The process of organizing meetings is often easier in the office as well. You’ll be able to spend more time generating ideas and less time tackling technology or communication issues.

Problem Solving 

Another advantage of working in an office is the ability to solve problems much more quickly than you would while working remotely. If you encounter a challenge during the course of the workday, it’s much easier to talk to a supervisor in person and solve it right away. This is particularly advantageous for those who work with advanced technology that might need to be repaired or adjusted throughout the workday. 

Networking and Team Bonding

In order to run a truly successful team, you need to give them opportunities to build trust and develop relationships with one another. While there are ways to do this virtually, it tends to happen more organically in the office. This also gives employees the opportunity to network, which can help them advance their careers in the long run. 

Morale Boost

Working together in an office can also help to boost morale for your team. Many people struggle to stay motivated when they are working by themselves for an extended period of time. Having others around who are focused on a common goal helps your team stay motivated, productive, and excited about the work they are doing. 

Access to Technology

Technology is essential to the daily workflow of people in many different industries. Often the advanced technology available at the office isn’t practical for employees to take home with them. When you have your team in the office, they will have access to the technology that they need to do their jobs to the fullest capacity. 

Work/Life Balance

Working in an office every day is actually very important for work-life balance. Many people are surprised to find that it can be very difficult to separate work and personal life in a home office. When you’re working from home, it can be difficult to take breaks or detach at the end of the workday. When you’re working in the office, you can leave work at work and spend your evenings with those you care about. 

Safe Office Space Layouts to Try

Reorganizing your office space during the pandemic can significantly reduce your team’s risk of spreading COVID-19 when done effectively. Of course, you’ll also need to have other health and safety measures in place in your office rentals. These could include mask wearing, reduced capacity in your space, regular hand-washing, and sick days available for those who are experiencing symptoms. Here are some of the best office design ideas to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. 

One-Way Traffic

One of the biggest potential risk points in any office is when employees have to be within a six foot distance of each other. This is when there is considerable risk for transmission. This can happen when employees are walking through the space and crossing paths with each other in the hallway. 

A good way to minimize the risks here is to set up your office so that employees only walk in one direction. This makes it much easier for them to stay six feet apart from each other. Set up designated entrances and exits, with a path that makes a loop around the office. The pathway should be clearly designated with arrows and social distancing markers to remind your employees which way to go. 

Larger Workstations

Increasing the size of each employee’s desk can not only help them be more productive at work, but it can also ensure a safe six foot distance from nearby employees. Many companies are even opting to implement plexiglass dividers between each desk to catch the droplets that could cause transmission. Large individual workstations also allow teams to work near each other instead of being in separate rooms. These large workstations with plexiglass barriers or other dividers can serve as a new take on the cubicle. Cubicles are coming back into fashion during this time, because they give employees enough space and privacy to stay safe. 

One of the challenges of implementing larger workstations for each employee is that it can limit your space. If you don’t have enough room for your entire team to be in the space at once, consider having your team members alternate between working from home and working at the office. Make sure you are sanitizing workstations in between use to prevent transmission between employees who share them. 

Accessible Meeting Spaces

One of the biggest benefits of working in an office is being able to connect with other team members in person. Your team is going to need plenty of comfortable and safe meeting spaces to connect. These meeting rooms should be large enough that employees can sit at least six feet apart. They should also be well ventilated and have minimal shared surfaces. For example, you can opt to put two desks in your meeting rooms instead of one long table. If possible, you can also opt for doors that open automatically and lights that turn on with sensors. Keep the capacity for your meeting rooms low to avoid transmission, and ensure that they are sanitized on a regular basis throughout the day. 

Multiple Hand-Washing Stations

Employees should be washing their hands throughout the day, or at least using hand sanitizer. However, if you only have one kitchen or one bathroom, that space can get crowded very quickly. To ensure that employees have plenty of opportunities to wash their hands, place portable sinks at key points throughout the office. In the same vein, consider having multiple small fridges and microwaves throughout the office instead of one kitchen that sees a lot of traffic. This reduces the amount of people who come in contact with these pieces of furniture. In general, having lightweight, portable pieces of furniture makes it easier to rearrange the office when you need to. 

Reduce Density in Open Floor Plans

An open office floor plan can foster creativity and collaboration. While it may not seem like they could work in a post-COVID world, a little creativity can help you keep your open office without putting your team in danger. The key is to reduce the density of your open office by cutting back on tightly packed desks, so there’s room for employees to walk through while still staying at least six feet away from anyone sitting down. If you have multiple employees working at the same desk, make sure they are on either end so they can be six feet apart. Depending on the type of building you are working in, open office plans can also be much easier to ventilate with open windows, air filters, and fans. 

Safe Reception Area

If your office has a reception area, you can use it as a place to enforce COVID safety protocols during this time. When employees or visitors enter the space, you can have them visit reception for things like a temperature check, hand sanitizer, and an introduction to the building’s safety protocols. Prevent people from congregating by using signage to help keep visitors six feet apart. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented hurdles for companies in many different industries. Giving your employees the opportunity to work in an office space when they want to has so many benefits. Not only can it help your team members work more comfortably and be more creative, but it also improves your company’s productivity and performance as a whole. When you find an office space for rent in Clifton Park, NY, it’s important to set it up in a way where each team member can maintain at least six feet of distance from each other while in the office. 

Commercial Leasing Tips

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Commercial leases are often longer than residential ones, sometimes lasting as long as 10 years. It’s important to read and thoroughly understand any lease before signing. As a business owner, you should familiarize yourself with the clauses and provisions most commonly found in office leases. Here are a few things to consider when selecting commercial office space for rent.

Operating Expenses

When you sign a commercial lease, you’ll typically be paying operating expenses in addition to base rent for space. These operating expenses can vary widely depending on the building you’re in – and your landlord. Paying these operating expenses is a necessary cost of doing business.

It’s important that each operating expense you’re being charged for is clearly defined in the lease. Any room for ambiguity can lead to unnecessary misunderstandings. Some of the most common operating expenses include utilities, waste removal, building maintenance, landscaping, and property taxes.

Square Footage

Another important thing to look at when signing a lease is the square footage. You’ll want to make sure that the square footage correlates with your needs. Of course, it’s difficult for any company to use the full extent of the square footage they’re given, as you may be limited by office configuration or architectural features of the building.

Rent

It’s normal for commercial tenants to see rent increases over the course of their lease. This is because the cost of running a building goes up over time. However, it’s important that the method for calculating rent increases is clearly defined in your lease.

The Takeaway

When looking for an office space to rent, it’s important to make sure that it’s a truly great fit for your company. Office rentals can be a big investment, particularly for small and growing companies. Before signing a lease, you’ll want to feel completely confident that your new office space is going to provide real value for the money.

 

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Your COVID-19 Return to the Office Safety Guide

U.S. Air Force client system technicians from the 17 Communications Squadron review work request tickets for computers around base while maintaining a social distance in the COMM building on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, April 22, 2020. The Airmen fixed and solved computer issues on-site and in the field, which instilinged mission readiness while adhering to the Center of Disease Control guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Abbey Rieves)

For the last several months, offices around the US have been shut down due to keep employees safe from the spread of COVID-19. Now, many cities and states are starting to lift their stay-at-home orders as case numbers go down. For many offices, this means it’s time to get back to work, but it’s important to do so safely. While COVID-19 cases are down in many areas, the disease has not been eradicated, and can still cause serious health problems. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps you need to take to keep your employees and clients safe when working in your Clifton Park office

Review your City and State Guidelines carefully prior to Opening. 

As the economy is reopening, local and regional governments have put out strict, clear guidelines for going back to work. It’s crucial that you follow these guidelines at your office – a failure to comply could not only get your employees sick but could also result in your workplace getting shut down by the government. Before you open up, read through these guidelines carefully and clarify which safety measures need to be taken. Do workers need to wear masks? Should you operate at less than full capacity? It’s worth taking an extra few days to open to make sure you’re really clear on all of the requirements that need to be met. Now is also a great time to review your OSHA guidelines and other best practices for workplace safety. 

Give Employees the Flexibility they need to take care of themselves. 

When reopening your office, your first consideration should be your employees’ health. The first step should be establishing a robust sick leave policy so that employees don’t have to choose between their health and a paycheck. Make sure employees know that they can take time off or work from home if they feel even the slightest bit sick. Although sick leave can be expensive up front, it will likely save your company money in the long run. This is because it can prevent a large outbreak that would dramatically hinder your company’s productivity. 

You should also make sure you have a plan in place to protect workers who are older or immunocompromised.  Ask them about their comfort levels, and let those who can work remotely continue to do so. This not only helps those who are most at risk stay safe, but it also gives people the flexibility they need to take care of their kids or assist older family members who may have been affected by COVID-19. If it is not possible to work from home, start with a staggered opening. You can do this by strategically dividing your team into two or three groups, and having each group come in only on certain days. 

Make sure Employees are Educated on COVID-19. 

Before your team starts working again, it’s important to make sure they are fully informed about COVID-19 and how it spreads. When employees are fully aware of the signs and symptoms they need to watch for, they will be less likely to contract the disease or spread it to others. Discourage handshakes and hugs, and avoid all unnecessary travel, as this can help to reduce the spread as well. You should also encourage or even require your employees to wash their hands at various points throughout the day. These seemingly small changes can make a big difference when it comes to fighting the spread of the coronavirus. 

Encourage Employees to get tested regularly. 

To make sure your workplace continually stays healthy, it’s very important that employees are regularly tested for COVID. Since many cases are asymptomatic, it’s very difficult to know for sure if someone has the virus without getting a test. Make sure your employees know where the nearest testing center is and how to schedule a test. You should also give your employees time off to go get tested safely. Depending on the industry you are in, you may even choose to mandate that employees get tested on a regular basis. 

Make it easy for Employees to maintain their distance. 

One of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to ensure that employees can keep a distance of at least six feet from each other while at work. This may require some reconfiguring of your office space. Move desks away from each other and use tape to create clear walkways throughout the office. You may also want to put up shields around each employee’s individual workspace, and encourage employees to wear masks when they do have to be near each other. Since COVID-19 transmits through the tiny water droplets we exhale, these measures can help to prevent the spread. 

Implement a strict Cleaning Schedule. 

One of the most important parts of returning to the office safely is making sure that your surfaces stay clean. Shared surfaces like door handles and communal tables should be cleaned as frequently as possible. It’s also important to clean tools like phones and computers and avoid sharing them with other employees whenever possible. Keep hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes readily available throughout the office to facilitate this process. You should also talk to your office rentals landlord to see how they are approaching the sanitation process. 

Since COVID-19 presents very real health risks, it’s very important that offices put safety measures in place before reopening. It’s worth investing extra time and energy to educate your employees and keep your space clean – this will allow you to go back to work while also staying healthy.