Therapy is all about creating a safe and comfortable sanctuary for clients, and this means prioritising the needs and the comfort of clients by selecting thoughtfully-designed spaces to hold sessions in.
With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many therapists to move their practice online, the need for physical office spaces has drastically decreased in the last year. However, as the world slowly tries to recover and workspaces gradually open back up, therapy sessions are also eventually returning to physical spaces.
Many are now choosing to rent a therapy office space in which to see clients, bypassing the tedious process of setting up an office space from scratch.
With a mind-boggling variety of office spaces to choose from, the options are endless and often confusing. In this article, we give you several tips on how to find the right space for your practice.
What should I think about when choosing a therapy office space to rent?
What makes a great space? Price, location, aesthetic – is that all there is to consider?
You may have found what you think is a great space, but have you really thought through and taken into consideration the needs of yourself, your clients, and your practice?
However far along you are in your search, be sure to keep these tips in mind before deciding on a space:
1. Decide why you need an office?
Ask yourself as many questions as possible before you decide to start looking.
Are you looking for a space to meet clients and patients?
Do you need the office to be near a certain location?
What about the impression you want to leave on your clients?
Without the answers to the questions above, it can be difficult to sort through and evaluate the options for office spaces.
2. How much space do you need?
Depending on the number of clients you have, figures may vary. Are you doing individual, couple or group therapy?
Calculate the approximate area that you will need in square feet. This will require an understanding of the estimated footfall per day and per hour of incoming clients in your office.
For example, if you have five to ten people in an office, the minimum space required will be 300 to 700 square feet.
However, for group therapy sessions, you will require less space as participants are less likely to be encumbered by a desk. A space of about 170 – 185 square feet would be more than enough.
Ensure that your space includes couches to sit on, a desk to work off of and ample space to move around comfortably.
3. Are you okay with coworking and office space sharing?
There are many reasons why co-working spaces have mushroomed all over Singapore in the past few years, making up around 5% of Singapore’s total office space.
The various advantages of co-working spaces include:
- Saving on office furniture.
- Ready to move in immediately.
- Offers flexible options of leasing according to your needs.
- Most shared offices are open 24/7.
- Saving on overhead costs such as utilities.
4. Take your time to search for and compare your options.
Make a list of all your viable options, and ensure you have all the information you need on hand to make your decision. Take the time to slowly and carefully go through your options, listing the pros and cons of each one. The internet is home to a multitude of information, allowing you to search for photos of the spaces, and find other details such as opening hours, location and address, and even nearby amenities.
The first thing you would want to search for is co-practice spaces for psychotherapists and wellness professionals in Singapore. These shared therapy office spaces would have specialised features for therapists to meet the needs of clients, such as private consultation rooms.
5. Things to look out for during viewings.
While rather overwhelming and time-consuming, going for viewings is an essential part of the process. Seeing a space in real life and being there in person to gauge the convenience, the suitability and the atmosphere of a place is key to selecting the perfect place for your practice.
There are two things in particular you should look out for during your viewing sessions.
The location should be easily accessible by you and your clients. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the location suitable for your personal needs?
- Is the therapy office space easily accessible by car or public transport?
- If it is accessible by car, does it have allocated parking spaces?
- Are there places nearby to eat?
Condition of office
There are additional details to keep in mind when selecting an office for therapy. Keep in mind the needs of your clients.
For example, an office with windows and ample natural lighting would be more warm and inviting for clients in therapy, compared to one only lit by fluorescent lighting, which can come across rather cold and clinical for therapy purposes.
Needless to mention, cleanliness and comfort are essential. Is there a common space for clients to wait comfortably? Are there provisions for a pantry space? Are the furnishings and interior decorations suitable for your practice?
6. Assess office space offer
Normally, traditional offices are leased for at least 2 years. Co-working spaces also usually offer a lease, but at a much shorter duration. In the current unpredictable COVID-19 situation, it is wise to avoid getting tied down by a 2-3 year lease.
If the offer appears to be too good to be true or you have any misgivings about the place, review the lease agreement.
Certain reputed therapy rental places like A Space Between have an option for a drop-in account that is valid for up to a year at only S$250 per year.
This means you simply have to pay as you go or whenever you book a room. This minimum commitment plan allows you the freedom and convenience of leasing a co-practice space for one year.
7. What types of rooms do they have?
As a therapist, you would need different types of rooms for different clients. For example, individual and couple therapy sessions would not require a large room, but a cosy and intimate one instead. Group therapy sessions would obviously require a larger space, yet not large enough that it might be uncomfortable and unnerving for some clients.
Your office room space should be big enough to fit at least 15 people comfortably. Spaces that can be partitioned into smaller rooms are versatile and convenient, allowing more rooms to be created in the blink of an eye to suit your needs.
8. Are the prices affordable?
Of course, your budget concerns are valid and have to be taken into consideration. Prices should be affordable and within the range of what you are willing to spend.
9. Do you need furnished office space?
Furnished office spaces in Singapore are quite limited. Generally, office spaces come in minimal, bare conditions. This means that you will need to get the necessary furniture, which will eat into your overhead costs and can add up to be rather costly.
For therapy offices in particular, furniture is essential and even more important for comfort and professionalism. Co-working therapy offices come readily furnished with the necessary couches, desks and other essential furniture, and are even nicely decorated to provide a warm and welcoming environment.
10. Do the room colour schemes suit your therapy requirements?
Therapy requires a peaceful and warm environment. The colour palettes and lighting in the rooms should be visually relaxing for clients during their sessions.
Look out for office spaces that feature décor in a variety of colour palettes, and additional features such as rugs and potted plants that all help to create a safe and welcoming atmosphere for therapy.
11. How much can you negotiate?
Most offices in Singapore are competitively priced in line with average market rates. If or when you come across an office that you like and meets all your needs, consult with an agent to get a second opinion on prices. Usually, you can get offers with a 5 to 10 percent discount on the initial asking rental price.
However, certain spaces may not allow much room for negotiations, especially if there is a high occupancy rate in the building the office is located at.
12. Lease duration and security deposit
In Singapore, it is common for organisations to ask for a rental deposit of 1 to 3 months of rental fees prior to occupation. This deposit is usually refundable and will be returned at the end of your lease, as long as there are no payments pending and the office is left in good condition.
Co-working spaces are less strict. Usually, you will simply have to pay a one-off registration fee, followed by whichever rental plan you choose. Considering any budget constraints, this is far more feasible.
13. Does open office space work for your requirements?
Besides therapy sessions which require private rooms, you will need space for other aspects of your practice. Does the office you are eyeing have ample space for administrative work to be done?
14. Can you book a tour with them?
Going on a tour of the space will help you decide more easily by giving you a real life feel of the space, and also help to ensure that what you see in photos is what you get.
15. Check for reviews
Searching for reviews and testimonials of previous clients is one of the most reliable and effective ways of gauging the quality of an office space. Often, these reviews offer behind-the-scenes information and may even include small details that are not advertised, that may or may not be a deal-breaker to you when looking for an office space.
It is certainly not an easy task to find the perfect place for your practice, but going into your search with all the above tips and questions in mind will definitely make the process smoother.
There are many things to consider before leasing a space, but take the time to go through all of them and you will eventually find the office space that best suits your requirements, and that will be a safe and welcoming place for you and your clients.
Looking for a thoughtfully designed therapy space that is conveniently located at a central location? Check out Aspacebetween.com.