So you’ve finally done it! Gotten your degree, passed that grueling licensure exam, and signed the lease to your brand new spankin’ office. Congratulations! Now that you’ve browsed the internet and walked the many furniture stores for the best couch/sofa/table/therapist office chair, etc. But sometimes, in all the flurry, and with all of our attention to the big stuff, we may miss the smaller stuff. Here are five office essentials that you may need but have not thought about to have in your office!
- Office supplies. This one’s probably pretty obvious but sometimes the problem is not if you have office supplies, but that you have the supplies that you need. For example, will your center or practice do a lot of paper intakes, might want to invest in some clipboards. Do you have enough pens (accounting for lost pens due to client theft—a clear clinical issue to be sure!), folders, and printer/copy paper? Will you accept cash or checks, will you need a safe or secure envelope? Are you the type to assign client homework—perhaps you need to make sure you have extra ink for your printer or copier just in case. Do you have a water dispenser for your clients—and the cups to go along with it? Extra batteries for your office clock? The list can go on. And it’s easy to forget something. Imagine every step you and your client will go through as part of a regular session and make sure you have the supplies for what’s needed for each step.
- Cleaning supplies. Score! Your building provides cleaning services for a minimal added fee. That’s a load of your shoulders—just think of all the vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping you’ve spared yourself. That’s great! Unfortunately, clients can sometimes ignore the building’s schedule. They spill food and drinks, track mud and dirt into the office, and do other things (hint: child clients + any substance on earth!) that may bring the quality of your “professional office” into question. Times like these, make sure to have the basics that you’ll need to maintain the cleanliness of your office such as a handy all-purpose magic eraser or wipes, a rag or paper towels to wipe out spills, hand held vacuum or similar devices for dust and dirt, and extra trash bags in case you need to throw away something malodorous from your trash cans.
- Deodorizer/Air Freshener. Granted, this can be categorized under number two. But I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard clinicians tell the story that starts with—“Client comes in fresh from the gym without showering” or “Client couldn’t find a parking spot and had to run (insert high number here that induces copious sweating) blocks to the office.” Perhaps you may even work with clients who, for whatever reason, struggle with their hygiene. Modern science has gifted us with stain-resistant and odor-resistant fabrics, and it has also given us another gift—the deodorizer. May it serve you well by helping you be present for every client, and not be fixated by that one client whose presence lingers “in the air.”
- Maintenance Tools/Products. Does every movement you make with your office chair produce an audible squeak? Or do you see your clients do a dance while trying to get in or out of your office chairs? It may be time to take out your handy dandy tools to help minimize those distractions. You won’t need a complete set of tools in your office, but some basic ones might help including your screwdrivers (with all the right heads), hammer and nails (or whatever you use to keep things hanging on your wall), and WD-40 for anything creaking or in need of lubrication. Also, don’t forget products that can lengthen the life of the furniture you’ve invested in so much—such as varnish for your most things wood and leather conditioner for…well…most things leather.
- Personal Care Products. It is easy to look at what’s needed for the office and to forget that sometimes we need a little cleaning up ourselves. While we all seek to find the perfect wardrobe that balances professionalism and personality expression, we must also accept the fact that accidents happen. Accidents like spilling things on ourselves that may leave a stain, or pens leaking ink, or being invited to a business lunch at a restaurant where everything has garlic (it exists, I promise!). In response to these rare instances, it may be helpful for you stock up on things like stain removers, breath mints/floss/mouth wash, deodorant, comb and hair products, lint roller, and others that can help you restore yourself to image you want to project to your clients.
How about you? Do you have any office “essentials” you didn’t think about at the start? Are there other things you’ve found helpful that are not on this list? Is there a funny story you might want to share? Share them on our Facebook page!