Your behavioral health office is often your home away from home; the place you spend most of your day, and a space that facilitates your work while providing comfort to your clients. However, setting up your office can be a nightmare. Negotiating long-term leases is stressful and risky. Designing the right layout, deciding what furniture to buy, and ordering and setting up phone and internet can be a pain. And what do you do if the amount of space you leased is too large or too small?
Negotiating long-term leases is stressful and risky. Designing the right layout, deciding what furniture to buy, and ordering and setting up phone and internet can be a pain. And what do you do if the amount of space you leased is too large or too small?
For all these reasons many behavioral health professionals consider setting up their practice in shared work space—like Regus or WeWork. The leases are short. The space is furnished. The phones and internet are already setup. It’s simple.
But setting up your practice at a Regus or WeWork also comes with hidden problems that many practitioners don’t uncover until they’re already in the space.
Here are five things you need to consider when looking at shared office space like Regus and WeWork. With these tips in hand you can ensure the shared space you choose is right for you and your patients.
1. Is the furniture right for your practice?
While it’s nice to walk into an office that’s already furnished, it’s a problem if that furniture doesn’t work for you and your clients.
“As a child therapist, the Regus space was not well designed for my patients,” says Beth Garrett, owner of Kensington Therapy Group who previously rented space at Regus but has since moved her practice to Nexis Medical Offices, a shared office space dedicated to behavioral health professionals. “Nexis is the complete opposite. The space is comfortable and a welcoming space for my young patients.”
Regus has traditionally catered to traditional small businesses such as independent lawyers, accountants and financial planners. As a result, its offices have traditional décor and furnishings, such as a large desk in the middle of the room, a high back chair for the tenant, two desk chairs for visitors on the other side, and some basic filing options.
At the other end of the spectrum, WeWork caters to millennials, independent contractors, and startups looking for a place to sit down and work, or relax and socialize. Its locations come with beer kegs, boutique coffee, pool tables, and mostly open bench seating, with some enclosed office space available at a premium.
Neither option is ideal for behavioral health practitioners that need to provide a professional yet comfortable environment for their patients
At Nexis, we have designed boutique spaces with modern, contemporary décor with your unique needs top of mind. Rather than a desk and a couple of chairs, our treatment rooms offer couches, love seats, and arm chairs set up for therapy and clinical work.
2. Will your patients privacy be protected?
Some Regus and WeWork locations will serve in excess of 100 tenants and have a single shared reception and waiting area. There’s no privacy amongst the guests of lawyers, accountants, tech start-ups, and your behavioral health clients. If you have a child or family practice, the space is not conducive to them. Plus, the high degree of stimulation can be difficult for many clients to manage.
“When I worked in Regus, my ‘neighbors’ were so loud I had to schedule patients when I knew certain members would not be in the space,” says Liz O’Donnell, PhD, owner of Minding Matters—a practice that focuses on issues stemming from infertility, individual, couples and relationship therapy. “Nexis, on the other hand, is discrete and my patients appreciate the professional and private environment.”
Our locations typically have around ten treatment rooms to keep traffic down and privacy up. Our waiting rooms are smaller, offering privacy and soothing videos on displays. Access from the waiting area to the treatment rooms is secured, providing greater peace of mind than you would get from other shared office companies.
3. When can you see your patients?
Both Regus and WeWork staff the front desk during the day, but in the evenings and weekends, there is no one to notify you that your clients have arrived. The ability to see patients when you want is even worse for Regus tenants that rent by the hour since they don’t have access to their space on evenings or weekends—prime treatment times for many behavioral health professionals.
“I considered Regus for my part-time practice where I see patients on nights and weekends,” says Constance Wolfe, LISW and a counselor at Lakeland Community College. “But I couldn’t see patients at those times unless I committed to a 12-month contract and I couldn’t take on that commitment. Nexis allows me to see patients whenever I want, even though I’m on a month-to-month contract, which is the flexibility I need.”
Rather than requiring a receptionist, we use digital check-in kiosks to send an email or text message notification when your clients arrive. There is no need for them to announce their names in front of everyone else. The kiosk system also allows you to see your patients whenever you want – 24×7, regardless of how many hours per week you sign up for.
4. Who can you refer patients to and who will refer patients to you? What if you need a second professional’s opinion?
Speak to tenants in Regus, and you will not hear much about community or resources to help grow a behavioral health practice.
“I was at Regus for a year and never connected with other therapists in the space,” continues Beth Garrett. “I’ve been at Nexis for just a few months and I’m already getting referrals from other professionals in the space and I know I can refer my patients to other Nexis members if they need specialized services.”
WeWork prides itself on its digital community and fostering an environment where tenants can bounce ideas off each other. However, with no other behavioral health professionals in the space, this does little for your practice.
Our goal is to create and foster an interdisciplinary behavioral health community, bringing together prescribers, therapists, and counselors across specialties to better support and nurture your practice.
5. Do they offer admin support that understands healthcare regulations?
Regus and WeWork offer administrative support (often a la carte and for a premium cost), but they know little about healthcare regulations like HIPAA or the Affordable Care Act (ACA). They also likely have limited expertise in electronic medical records (EMR) and practice management systems, or medical billing and credentialing. This will leave you on your own to research, implement and adhere to healthcare regulations and systems.
Since our offices are limited to behavioral health, everything we do is HIPAA-compliant. We have a network of preferred vendors to help solve your EMR and practice management technology needs. At Nexis, you have access to peers to help you with clinical work and to Nexis staff for help with administration, technology, and business strategy.
Shared office space can be a terrific option for behavioral health professionals. But the space needs to be designed for your unique needs. Nexis Medical Offices provides a better option, tailor-made for behavioral health professionals.
Call us today (216.706.2603) to setup a tour and get your first month’s rent free. Call now to learn more about this limited time offer.