Aesthetics matter: is it time for a makeover?

Aesthetics matter: is it time for a makeover?

In a recent post on practice branding, we touched on the topic of office décor. Let’s delve a little deeper here, because appearance and first impressions really do matter. A clean, tastefully decorated office is inviting for patients, and a work space that is pleasing and efficient can help keep staff satisfaction levels high. You don’t have to spend a fortune to create a comfortable atmosphere for everyone who visits or works in your practice. Sometimes a few minor tweak can make a big difference.

First, take a clear-eyed and objective look at your office. Make notes as you go on a tour. Walk through the front door, just as a new patient would, and look around. What jumps out at you immediately that needs to be addressed? Piles of magazines that should have been discarded months ago? Lamps from the 1980s? Carpet that’s dirty or worn? Crooked pictures hanging on the walls? Ask yourself if you’d like to sit in your own waiting area for any period of time.

Stroll through the front and back business office areas. What do you see? Is it obvious that more storage is needed? Have dust bunnies been allowed to accumulate simply because they live in areas that patients never see? What would make these spaces more comfortable and organized for the staff members who work in them every day?

Next, scrutinize patient care areas. Are the exam rooms clean and orderly? Are central nursing areas tidy or chaotic? Do the bathrooms need attention?

Armed with your immediate “to-do” list, prioritize what needs to be done, and then create a timeline, budget, and plan of action. So that you don’t miss anything, here is a checklist of items to consider replacing, upgrading, repairing, or otherwise addressing in your practice.

Waiting room

  • Carpet or other floor covering
  • Paint
  • Window coverings
  • Furniture (replace, recover, repair)
  • Lighting
  • Artwork
  • Entry rugs
  • Reading/educational materials (upgrade, purge, organize)

Business office areas

  • Carpet or other floor covering
  • Paint
  • Window coverings
  • Desks and file cabinets
  • Storage
  • Lighting
  • Tech: computers, copiers, phone system

Patient care areas

  • Carpet or other floor covering
  • Paint
  • Window coverings
  • Cleanliness (special attention to exam rooms and bathrooms)
  • Organization: files, patient handouts, supplies where they can be accessed quickly
  • Equipment (replace, repair)
  • Lighting
  • Soundproofing

As you review your prioritized list, keep in mind that you don’t have to do everything at once. Depending on how much attention your office needs, you might spread the tasks out over a period of several months – or even a year or more – depending on your budget and how much time you have to devote to the makeover project. Determine, too, what you can do yourself (or engage staff to do if they’re interested) versus what you should hire done. You probably won’t tackle laying carpet or installing soundproofing on your own, but if you love to paint, go for it. If the thought of that task makes you feel weary, hire a professional. One way or another, work your way through the list until the job is complete. You’ll be glad you did when you see the results.