Are you considering renting office space for the first time? How can you encourage an office-space culture when the clinicians have not met one another before? Can you strike a balance between virtual and in-person counseling that both involve using office space?
In this podcast takeover episode, Whitney Owens speaks with Cathy Sullivan-Windt about when to get office space and how much.
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Meet Cathy Sullivan-Windt
Cathy is a licensed counseling psychologist with almost 20 years of experience providing individual psychotherapy to adults in the Baltimore area. She has experience working with a diverse group of clients with respect to gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and presenting concerns. Cathy is insured and licensed in the state of Maryland.
She obtained a B.A. from Boston College, an M.A. and Ed.M. in Psychological Counseling from Columbia University Teachers College and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park. As a graduate student, she conducted research on psychotherapy process (i.e., what happens in therapy) and outcome (i.e., changes that happen at the end of therapy), as well as therapist development and she’s have published articles on these topics. Cathy has also taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in counseling theories and skills at the University of Maryland, College Park, and Stevenson University
In This Podcast
- Tips on rent
- Things to consider about the offices
- Encouraging culture in a new office space
- Tips for creating a good work culture
Tips on rent
So a good rule of thumb when we’re talking about rent is to not get rent that is more than 10% of your revenue when you’re paying for it … make sure that you consider [this] model when you’re thinking about space. (Whitney Owens)
You should consider this model because many group practice owners fall prey to the idea that they can get a bigger space and grow into it, which ultimately costs them more money in the beginning, often takes too long to fill and so they struggle financially.
If you are starting small office-space wise, you can start with two therapists in each office, therefore you only need to pay for two offices in the beginning.
If I was in your situation I would be looking at three office [spaces]. This will give you enough room for six therapists easily in person. You might be able to fit in a little more people and you will have some people virtual, so if somebody was doing two days in-person and two days virtual … you probably could fit eight people into three offices. (Whitney Owens)
Things to consider about the offices
- Perhaps your clinicians might enjoy the opportunity to have a space where they can work away from home if they would prefer that. For some people post-COVID, having the option of working outside of the home has helped them differentiate work from the home environment.
- Consider parking and access: is it easily accessible to your clients from the road and is there enough space for them to move around in?
- For your clients and clinicians: consider kitchen and bathroom access. What are the protocols that you need in place to keep everyone safe while allowing them free movement?
- Does your office space have a waiting room, an open space where clients can wait for their appointment where they feel safe and comfortable?
Encouraging culture in a new office space
Taking the first step and introducing your clinicians to one another is important to do and will ultimately help them feel more comfortable sharing an office space once the introduction hurdle has been surpassed.
Organizing staff meetings is another important tool that you can use to encourage a workplace culture that clinicians can be a part of.
I do think [that] staff meetings can bring a lot together, for sure, in the consistency and that of bringing people together, even if they’re only seeing each other on zoom, that can really be helpful for cohesion. (Whitney Owens)
Tips for creating a good work culture
- Celebrate birthdays of clinicians,
- Celebrate staff victories and promotions by sending out emails and keeping clinicians updated,
- When COVID improves you can consider doing events such as celebrating holidays or fun days such as Valentine’s Day.
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Meet Whitney Owens
In addition to running her practice, she offers individual and group consulting through Practice of the Practice. Whitney places a special emphasis on helping clinicians start and grow faith-based practices. She hosts a podcast to help faith-based practice owners called the Faith in Practice Podcast.
Whitney has spoken at the Licensed Professional Counselors Association of Georgia’s annual convention as well as Maryland. She has spoken the past two years at Practice of the Practice’s Killin’ It Camp Conference. She has also been interviewed about mental health issues on several media outlets including WSAV in Savannah and in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Whitney is a wife and mother of two beautiful girls.
Thanks For Listening!
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