What does your waiting room say about you?

This blog is for the practice owner who has a waiting room, where people sit either by themselves or with their family or friend until you are ready to see them.  If you think back to the values in your practice that you want to model to your clients or the way you want your clients to feel when they are with you, how do these important aspects then apply to your waiting room?  Today in the blog I want you to be thinking of how it ‘feels’ to your clients in your waiting room.

I get it, it sometimes might not be on the top of your to-do list…. And therefore it can sometimes go two ways “out of sight, out of mind” where we forget to attend to the waiting room when it is out of our periphery, or we become so familiar with the look of it, we don’t see the flaws anymore.  Sound familiar? Well, we need to change that.  If you have a physical practice that people come to visit, and you have a waiting area – I want it to be front of mind for you. Here are some steps to review your current waiting room:

  1. Sit in it yourself – walk into your practice as though you are a client, and sit down where they sit in the waiting room. Look around and write down what you see, what you hear, what you feel, what do you smell, what feels awkward (if anything), what feels great (if anything) and ask yourself if you would feel comfortable sitting there for an extended period?

  2. Take stock of what you have – make a list of the things you have in the waiting room for your clients. Put everything down… chairs, table, magazines, toys, reading material, plants, etc. Once you have a list, make three columns beside the list with the following headings and then work down the list to tick which items belong in each column. Column headings should be: Needs regular cleaning; System in place to ensure regular cleaning; Matches our brand and values; Does not belong anymore; Needs replacing. This will give you an idea of what needs to be updated or what waiting room jobs need doing on a regular basis.  For example, if your chairs have stains or are old then they likely need replacing or cleaning well.  If toys are used often and need cleaning, is there someone who completes that task, and how often.

  3. Make sure it is safe – I have seen accidents in waiting rooms during my time as a therapist, in many settings. Clients slipping on tiles, children banging their heads on overhanging reception desks, people fainting because it was too hot, and chairs breaking under people.  You can avoid accidents for your clients by doing a risk assessment of your waiting room and actioning items related to safety, for example, contacting the chair manufacturer and knowing the weight capacity for your chairs, or making sure electrical power points near children have safety covers.

By taking stock of your waiting room and how it feels, and what is in it, is a great starting point to creating a comfortable and safe place for your clients.  If you have not actioned anything like the above in a long time (or never!), put it in the calendar this week. 


Branding, customer Service, Private Practice, Waiting Room, Rooms

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