With 2020 officially behind us, the time is ripe for fresh perspectives and renewed intentions. It’s also a perfect time to reinvigorate your clinic’s space. Aesthetics play a huge role in first impressions and patient perceptions. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that the design of providers’ waiting rooms influenced how patients perceived the quality of care delivered. That said, your clinic’s visual vibe can be a powerful marketing tool to attract and retain patients.
Here are some quick tips for freshening up your PT clinic’s appearance and making it cohesive to the overall brand and experience you want to create.
1. Get organized.
What better way to begin your clinic refresh than by getting rid of the clutter that’s accumulated over the year(s)? Month-old sticky notes? Begone! That stapler that hasn’t worked since the 2018 physician fee schedule final ruling? Sayonara! The pile of odds and ends that grows by the week? Scram! Decluttering your space gives you a blank slate to incorporate new items that boost efficiency and support your space’s desired aesthetic.
In addition to discarding the tired, unused, and inoperable, consider further organizing your office by adding containers, bins, and basket drawers—and designating these spaces for specific items.
We realize tidying up isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so make it less of a chore by treating it as a team-building activity or tying it to a reward—like a free lunch or pizza party.
2. Deep clean fabrics and furnishings.
Last year brought to light the importance of setting and maintaining high sanitation standards. So, in addition to disinfecting surface areas, take the time to deep-clean your fabrics and furnishings (e.g., carpets, drapes, and upholstery). It doesn’t cost much to hire a professional cleaning service for this endeavor (see the average breakdown here). However, if you’re in the DIY mood, consider renting some of the necessary equipment from your local Home Depot or Lowe’s.
3. Bring the outdoors in.
Your clinic should exude an air of life and vitality, and what better way to do that than by incorporating living greens into the work environment? Not only do plants give indoor spaces a punch of color, but they are also proven to have a positive impact on our health and well-being. According to this NASA study, plants purify the air in indoor environments by removing contaminants and converting them into food. One of the researchers actually published his findings in a consumer-friendly book titled, “How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 Houseplants That Purify Your Office.”
If you’re looking for something a little more skimmable, check out The Spruce’s list of easy-to-care-for indoor plants.
4. Set the mood with new lighting.
Have you ever heard the term, “hygge” (pronounced hue-guh)? Essentially, it’s a Danish word used to engender a feeling of coziness and contentment. And lighting is a major component of hygge.
There is nothing less hygge than stark, fluorescent overhead lights—particularly in common areas or waiting rooms. Using floor and table lamps as an alternative—and installing warmer-colored light bulbs with less intense lumen numbers (experts suggest around 1,000 lumens) wherever possible—can help create a more inviting space.
5. Incorporate unique, kitschy items.
Your clinic space should be functional—but that doesn’t necessarily mean it should be devoid of character. Consider mixing in a few unique or kitschy accessories to capture the spirit of your practice and its culture. These could include an antique or two, a whimsical piece of art, or a figurine of your team’s mascot (if you have one).
6. Display photos of you and your team.
In line with the item above, photos of your team—especially out of normal work garb—help humanize you and your therapists. Plus, they can serve as conversation starters with patients, which could help you forge deeper relationships over time. Think of what you’d be delighted to see on your next visit to your PCP’s office. A photo of your doc cross-country skiing, bungee jumping in New Zealand, or holding up a racquetball tournament trophy may beget a personal connection that wasn’t there before.
7. Add a touch of paint.
A fresh coat of paint can work wonders in revitalizing your space. In addition to lightening and brightening a room, a touch of color can make small rooms feel larger. Experts suggest painting your ceiling in a lighter version of the color that’s on your walls to give your space an expanded, vaulted feel.
An inspired color palette can also increase productivity. Numerous studies have found that colors—when used correctly—boost morale and energize employees. Different colors induce different moods and feelings. For example, greens are great for relaxation and concentration, as they activate both hemispheres of the brain simultaneously. Check out this helpful article for a complete breakdown of how each hue impacts the human psyche.
8. Update reading materials.
Waiting rooms are synonymous with dusty, archaic magazines—many of which hold little interest to the general public. Throw out tattered periodicals and replace them with reading materials that are specific to the interests of your patient base. Look for companies that offer publisher-negotiated subscription prices, like EBSCO Mags, to score some killer deals—and enhance your clinic’s environment in the process.
9. Tantalize the ears.
Music has always been fundamental to the human experience, and it has a powerful effect on our well-being. According to this Harvard Health Publishing article, music “has major effects on many aspects of health, ranging from memory and mood to cardiovascular function and athletic performance.”
Fortunately, music isn’t hard to come by these days. Considering the number of streaming options available, there’s little standing in your way of filling your clinic space with tunes that energize your staff and relax your patients. If you’d rather not splurge on a fancy stereo system, check out these budget-friendly Bluetooth speakers.
With each year’s end comes the urge to reflect on and reset personal achievements and goals. This mentality should also extend to the place where you spend the majority of your time: your clinic. Apply some of these affordable tips and tricks to give your clinic space a facelift—and help your practice put its best foot forward in the new year.