The workplace has undergone a noticeable transformation since the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past few years, employers and employees have been searching for the ideal work arrangement, and it seems that virtual counseling has become a permanent fixture.
The availability of telework options has made it convenient for therapists to provide their services from any location, as long as they have internet capabilities. While working from home allows for numerous advantages and flexibility, there are also unique challenges that therapists must navigate. If you're a virtual counselor who does telework, these working from home tips can help you strike a better balance between your professional and personal life.
3 Benefits of Being a Virtual Counselor
There are challenges to working remotely but there are also huge perks! Some of these are listed below.
- Being a virtual counselor gives you a wide range of opportunities to help individuals in need. Whether your clients face challenges with transportation, have busy schedules, or frequently travel, they can benefit greatly from the convenience and consistency of online therapy platforms.
- One of the major benefits of being a virtual counselor is the flexibility it offers in managing the work-home life balance. As a therapist working from home, you can utilize the time in between sessions to throw dinner in the crockpot or fold laundry during your lunch break. Additionally, you no longer have to spend time commuting, which means you gain even more time for personal tasks and relaxation.
- Save on expenses. By working from home, you eliminate the need to rent an office space and may even be eligible for tax deductions on your home office expenses.
3 Challenges for Telework Therapy Providers
Awareness is key when it comes to solving challenges. By acknowledging and confronting them head-on, you can minimize potential issues and find effective solutions.
- It can be difficult to maintain client confidentiality when doing telework therapy, especially if you’re working with other family members at home.
- Ensuring your privacy can be a daunting task when it comes to telework therapy. Your home should be a secure and personal sanctuary, so it's crucial to carefully consider what your clients can see during their sessions.
- Connecting with clients during telework can pose challenges, particularly when working with individuals who are very young, elderly, or not accustomed to online communication. Additionally, interpreting body language can prove to be difficult in an online setting.
Working from Home Tips for Clinicians
You may have to be creative in coming up with solutions to meet the challenges of working remotely but it can be done! Our working from home tips can help get you started as you problem solve for each of the following situations.
Create a space in your home that is HIPAA compliant.
HIPAA compliance has to be a top priority for virtual counseling. A dedicated room is ideal, but you can also set up a quiet part of your home away from family members. When setting up your space, consider using a noise machine to prevent conversations from being overheard. Earbuds are another great tool to insure client privacy.
Also, make sure that client information is securely stored so that family members cannot access sensitive data, and choose a HIPAA compliant telehealth software for your sessions. Finally, make sure that family members know that they cannot interrupt you when you’re in a session with a client.
Keep personal items to a minimum.
It's important to create a professional environment for your virtual counseling sessions, even if they are taking place in your own home. While it's acceptable for clients to see your surroundings, it's advisable to minimize personal items that may reveal information about your personal life, such as family pictures or items related to your religious or political beliefs. Take a moment to assess your background and make any necessary adjustments before starting a session with a client.
Establish a consistent daily schedule and adhere to it.
Create a daily routine that mirrors your office routine, and make a conscious effort to follow it consistently. Prior to starting your work on the computer, engage in a morning routine that helps you transition into the work mindset. Incorporate regular breaks into your schedule to recharge and avoid burnout. Additionally, set a designated time to finish work each day. Experts suggest implementing a ritual to signal the end of your workday, such as taking a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood, changing into comfortable clothes, or indulging in a personal activity that brings you joy. It's important to allocate time to step outside during the day, even if it's just a brief walk down the street, to refresh your mind and connect with nature.
Stay connected to others.
Telework can often lead to feelings of isolation and a lack of social interaction. While it may not be exactly the same as in-person interactions, there are still ways to build a supportive social network. Take the time to connect with colleagues and peers on platforms like Slack or other communication tools. Schedule regular social events both in your professional and personal life. Whether it's an online lunch, a coffee date with coworkers, making time for happy hour, or a meal with a friend, maintaining healthy connections with others is crucial for mental well-being and can help alleviate the loneliness that can come with working from home.
Are You a Virtual Counselor Who Needs Help With Telework?
Exym has more than just working from home tips to help clinicians tackle telework. Our mental health software platform is designed with you in mind, by people who have worked in your field and want you to succeed.
We have the HIPAA compliant telework software that virtual counselors need, with built-in administrative forms, notes documentation templates, and coding and billing features that save you time and make life easier. Visit our Clinical page to learn more about how Exym helps clinicians like you every day.
Exym is a comprehensive EHR software solution designed specifically for behavioral health agencies. Trusted for 20+ years, our intuitive and customizable software empowers providers to improve client outcomes, manage revenue cycles, and increase agency efficiency. Exym allows you to spend more time on what matters most- the clients in your care.
Book a demo to learn more!