What realtors are finding in empty offices right now

Back in March, thousands of offices shuttered and set up their employees to work from home, often with no notice. We saw jokes in the summer about people returning to their offices and finding their plants dead. Months later, some of those offices are closed for good, either because they went out of business or because working from home became permanent, and that real estate is no longer needed. Emilie Goldman is one of the people tasked with subleasing those office spaces.

She's been reentering deserted offices and showing them to potential subtenants, and encountering some nasty vestiges of office life past. There's the rotten milk in office fridges, half-eaten and now rotting snacks on desks, and moldy coffee cups, as well as sad tableaux of dead plants, disheveled desks, and paperwork abandoned mid-completion.

"No one really tidied up their office, like, 'Oh, let me clean up my office because I might not be back here for a year, or there might be people coming around to take our office.' That thought didn't cross anyone's mind," Goldman says. "And the responsibility is slightly on me to tidy that up, because it's my job to sublease the space for my client."

However, office space is going for a fraction of its previous price, so potential tenants might be willing to deal with a smell or two. Read about the business of unlocking those grody abandoned offices at Fast Company.