It’s been almost one year since we have been on lockdown through the pandemic. Each month, I grit my teeth and hand over my rent check to the office manager for my private practice office space. I feel like I’m handing over money for an unused office space. My logical mind tells me that I am wasting money on an empty office space.
However, I have to remind myself that we are in an unprecedented time. I am not in this boat alone and there are other therapists who are trying to weather the storm too. For instance, my subleasers rarely use the office space either. We are all trying to stay safe not only for ourselves, but for our clients as well. We don’t use the space because we do not want to spread the virus.
Which is Best: Home Office or Work Office?
I continue to pay office rent not only because there is a lease agreement, but for the mailing address. Does having a work mailing address outweigh the cost of doing telehealth from a home office? I don’t want to use my home address as a business address. I do like having a physical work address because it allows me to be searchable on Google.
But as each month ticks by, I’m having second thoughts about returning or wanting to return to my office space.
“As I add up the cost of leasing an office space, plus the cost of gas, electricity, internet… the total adds up quickly. It feels like I am throwing hard earned money away.”
Each month, I ask myself, “Just wait until next month to decide if I want to keep my office space”. Well, almost an entire year has gone by of paying for office space that I am barely using.
Sometimes, I see a couple of clients in person or do telehealth from my office. But for the most part, I am doing telehealth from my home office. The vaccine is now available to therapists, but now I’m not sure if I want to go back in person. Providing telehealth from my home office is cost efficient. I am completely used to it by now since the pandemic has gone on for so long.
Which is The Best Choice For You?
Perhaps there is a light at the end of the tunnel as it feels like we are rounding the corner on the virus with the vaccine now in place. Mental health professionals are beginning to ask themselves, “Do I want to continue seeing clients exclusively by telehealth and not return to the office?” “Do I want to see clients exclusively in person and not use telehealth when the pandemic is over?” Or “Do I want to do both, telehealth and in-person?”
What will my clients want to do?
And another question to consider is “Will my clients want to go back in person or continuing with telehealth?” Some have moved out of the area, so that would mean they would have to drive a long distance to come in person. New clients that I have obtained during the pandemic are in different parts of the state, so that is not even a question to consider. They will remain via telehealth.
Which is the most cost effective?
The main decision in all of this will be what is the best and right decision for me as an entrepreneur. Depending on my goals for my business. As well as which direction I want to see it grow. For some business owners, this is an easy decision. For others like myself, it’s much harder. I want to do both in-person and telehealth. But I don’t want to pay the cost of leasing an office space. When I’ve had the last twelve months to show to myself that there is a more cost effective and successful way to have a private practice via online.
Perhaps I can ask to lower my rent since there is not a demand for office space during this time? But what if I can’t get it lower, then what?
In therapy, we talk about looking at all angles to see the bigger picture at hand. The pandemic sure has allowed me to see other ways of how to run a successful private practice via online. I’ve made more money this past year building my private practice online than in previous years. I think all therapists will be busy with clients for a long time to come. Whether it’s in-person or online therapy due to the ramifications of COVID-19. No matter how you slice it, therapists are here to stay whether it’s in-person or online.
Note: A previous version of this article was originally published at Heard on February 9th, 2021.