As we return to “normal” life following the pandemic, more and more of us are choosing to do things in person that we had to learn how to do virtually, including therapy. The lockdowns made it challenging, if not impossible, for behavioral health professionals to see clients in person. Now, we are able to take things offline and back into the real world, which means everyone can see their therapists in person again, yay!
Coworking spaces are having a moment in a post-pandemic world. Over one million people in the U.S. conduct their business from a coworking space, and therapists can use them as well. Sharing a therapy office is a good option for a lot of practitioners. It helps lower costs, allows practitioners the chance to socialize and collaborate with other clinicians, and offers an opportunity to elevate a practice and attract new clients.
Whether you’re a new therapist looking for an office to see clients, or you’re a seasoned practitioner interested in changing things up, you may have come across the opportunity to share a space with other clinicians.
To be clear, sharing a therapy coworking space is not the same as joining a group practice. Sometimes referred to as a co-op or a shared practice, this model allows practitioners to share overhead costs by renting office space together while still operating independently.
Considerations for Sharing a Therapy Office
Brook Bretthauer, a therapist based in northern Colorado, shares her individual office within a suite of offices also used by other clinicians. “Private practice can be pretty isolating because you don’t have any coworkers,” she says. “It’s been really good feeling like you have a work community and colleagues.”
Working in the same space allows them to run cases by one another and get a second opinion on treatment plans. However, sharing an office doesn’t guarantee more face time with your colleagues.
“Because we’re so independent,” Bretthauer says, “it’s not like we get to see each other a ton or connect a lot.”
Those who are looking for a more “traditional” workplace might be better suited to work as part of a group practice.
While sharing your office with another therapist doesn’t automatically make you business partners, some do choose to go this route. Depending on your situation, it can either make conducting your business easier or more complicated.
Since many therapists using this model still operate as sole proprietors, it doesn’t always make sense to have a front desk where clients can check in. Using a visitor management software such as The Receptionist for iPad helps keep the lobby area running smoothly and lets everyone know when their client has arrived. You can have different check-in buttons for the different practices or counselors that share the same space, making it easy for clients to quickly find their practitioner and check in. It also helps maintain client privacy by eliminating the need for a paper sign-in sheet or logbook.
You will have a lot of options when searching for a space that will suit your needs. Newer coworking spaces tend to be more open-concept and lack the extreme privacy you need for client sessions. Therefore, practitioners should seek out spaces with plenty of doors and walls, as well as a space for a waiting room. Older buildings with a more traditional office layout tend to be best for sharing a therapy office.
Some practitioners who share offices use white noise machines just inside or outside of their office doors to help mask the sounds of voices and ensure no one can hear what’s being said during a session.
Rather than operating in a space with multiple offices, some therapists choose to share only their office. In this case, you’ll need to coordinate with the other therapist(s) in your office about times, since you obviously can’t all see clients in the same room simultaneously.
Having a shared scheduling system makes it easier to ensure there’s no overlap between sessions or working hours. Communication is the key to keeping everyone’s schedules aligned. For example, Bretthauer chooses to work on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, while her officemate works the other two weekdays to keep scheduling simple.
Just like every other area of your life, you will come across other therapists you don’t like or whose values don’t align with your own. Before agreeing to share a space with another therapist or group of therapists, take the time to get to know them a little bit. This can help mitigate the possibility of personality clashes.
Choosing to share an office space with other therapists or clinicians can be great for your business, but only if you are on the same page with your co-tenants. Talking through all of these considerations with your potential office mates before your move-in date will save you a lot of headaches in the long run.
Share this Post