When the country went into lockdown in March 2020, I stopped seeing clients face to face and moved all of my client sessions online where possible. This was in line with government policy and health and safety guidelines for the COVID19 outbreak. Since then, I have continued to see clients online, using secure video conferencing, and it is working well. Most clients have found it easy and convenient, and whilst there are some disadvantages over seeing clients in person, it is a very good alternative. Some clients have told me that they now prefer this medium. Some of the comments have been that it feels more direct and personal and that it fits in better with their busy lives.
A few clients have, however, asked me when I will be going back to face to face work. The honest answer to that is that I don’t yet know. I have been following updates from the government and also my professional associations and my insurer. The latter all continue to urge caution before returning to face to face work. It will require me to complete a detailed risk assessment and implement some new health & safety procedures, all of which I feel will have a considerable impact on my practice and client work. This will include using PPE (such as face masks) and putting in place a robust cleaning schedule between clients, not only of my office but also the common areas and WCs. However, I am also following my gut feeling, which is telling me to wait and see how the easing of lockdown impacts Coronavirus case numbers in my area.
I also have to consider the impact upon myself personally of returning to face-to-face work, not least the increased risk of contracting the virus myself, or passing it on. This is obviously a concern for me, not only for my clients but also because I am responsible for family members who are vulnerable and as I am self-employed I do not receive sick pay if I need to take time off or to self-isolate.
I currently feel that it will be some time before I will be ready to open up my practice office to clients again. I do not anticipate that this will happen this year (2021). I am keeping your and my own safety in mind, particularly as my office is within a shared office building with many people coming in and out of the premises every day.
I apologise to those clients who would like to come and see me in person, however I am erring on the side of safety and in line with current advice for my profession. I will continue to update my clients on my decisions about returning to face to face work.
Please do contact me with any questions.
Stay safe and well.