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8 Tips to Create a Relaxing Waiting Room

You may be underutilizing your waiting room and missing out on possibilities to improve the patient experience. The cornerstone of medical practices and hospitals' long-term growth is keeping pleased patients.

Fortunately, with these practical reception area ideas, improving your waiting room can be simple. It doesn’t have to be drab, cramped, or uninviting. A few easy design improvements to your waiting room may turn it into a relaxing location where people can enjoy waiting before their appointment.

Why Your Waiting Room Design Matters

A person spends an average of roughly 21 minutes in an office waiting room before their appointment. So, it's critical to make guests feel at ease and welcome while they're in your space. Your waiting area should also reflect who you are and what your company or group stands for.

Your patients are likely concerned about themselves or a loved one. Having a calm and happy atmosphere is critical in easing their anxiety and calming their mood. Not only is this your chance to make a great first impression, but it’s also the first chance you get to make your guests feel comfortable.

It may be overwhelming to think about where to begin when planning out your space. That's why we've compiled this list of 8 helpful waiting room ideas to help take the guesswork out for you.

Consider The Flow Of The Room

When setting up your reception area, keep in mind where your guests will be entering and exiting, and make sure you clearly define these locations in your layout.

There's nothing worse than showing up for an appointment and not knowing where to go; it's immediately unsettling and may make your patients uneasy.

You'll want to make sure that foot traffic flows smoothly around the waiting area and doesn't bottleneck, which will be much easier if you have a separate exit that keeps traffic moving in one way.

Also, make sure that patients can get through a visit without colliding with other patients or having to retrace their steps to find their way around.

Choose The Correct Style and Placement For Your Reception Desk

The focal point of your waiting area should be your reception desk. This is most often where your guests sign in and check out. It should be immediately visible and accessible from the entry.

It should also be welcoming and clean; you don’t want your patients to see papers, boxes, and packages all cluttered up in the reception area.

Make sure you have enough space for all of your essentials, such as phones, computers, printers, and scanners, as well as the number of individuals who will be working at the same time.

You'll also have to figure out what kind of desk you'll need based on your space and preferences, as well as other design considerations (like will you need an elevated front to conceal confidential information, etc.).

You'll want to pick a finish that complements your decor while still providing the durability you require (wood grain laminate is extremely durable), and you can even add some finishing touches like steel or plexiglass.

The most important thing to remember while shopping for welcome desks is to measure everything! You should carefully measure the reception area you intend to use to ensure that the desk you select will fit without difficulty.

Choose The Right Furniture

How waiting room seating is organized can have a significant impact on how comfortable waiting patients are. Not only in terms of health, but also in terms of social interaction.

Can you make any changes to the waiting area that would better serve your visitors? To accommodate your visitors, consider the patient's age, stature, and mobility. Make room for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

Do you have smaller furniture for youngsters or furniture with a high back to help the elderly or people with limited mobility? Is it possible to arrange sitting in groups to create a more intimate and welcoming atmosphere?

Mix and match loveseats (two-person seats), single chairs, and three-person couches. Alternatively, remove the couches. Loveseats are ideal for waiting rooms since they can comfortably accommodate a couple, a small family, or a solitary patient.

To give personal space, single seats should be placed distant from other chairs or in pairs. Couches are only suitable for couples and families; everyone else will feel uncomfortable or selfish if they sat on one. So carefully consider the size of the waiting area furniture you choose and how you arrange it.

Select Comfortable Upholstery

Next, give some thought to your upholstery. No one likes plastic or pleather that adheres to the skin after a lengthy period of sitting. The scratchy, fuzzy upholstery, which feels like cheap carpet, is also an annoyance.

Consider removable and washable chair covers instead of plastic chairs for practices that require washable chairs. Choose a fabric that is easy to breathe, doesn't trap heat, and doesn't stick to the body after over thirty minutes of sitting.

Choose Colors Carefully

The colors you choose for your furniture, as well as your walls and fixtures, can have a direct impact on how your visitors feel. If you're designing a waiting area for a doctor's office, consider using calming or reassuring hues like green or blue with a touch of pink for compassion.

Green represents calmness, whereas blue represents honesty, loyalty, and security. This is also why, if decisions must be made in the reception area, a soft-blue green might assist in decision-making. Avoid yellow and red as they may generate worry and hostility.

When choosing colors, keep in mind that you may want your company's colors to be represented throughout your waiting area. If you're not sure what colors would look best in your waiting space, get fabric samples to see how they'll look in different lighting.

Add a Touch of Style

Many patients will use their smartphones to keep themselves engaged. But for those without, it’s worthwhile to make your decor interesting. Decorate the walls with murals or mazes, a tiny aquarium, or colorful framed cityscapes that patients can get lost in. Interesting design, when paired with some gentle instrumental music, can make a long wait more passively fascinating.

Fish tanks, as well as other visually engaging distractions like artwork, digital screen installations, color, and innovative lighting, can all be beneficial to distracting your guests from their worries.

Remember, your waiting area reflects your company. This is a great place to leave out some reading material and even advertise your business.

Use Lighting To Set The Tone

The best source of lighting to aim for is natural light, although this isn't always possible in practice. If you have windows, make sure they're clean and, mostly, blind-free. When the complete spectrum of sunlight is available, it increases mood and healing times, but when it isn't, we must do our best to imitate it.

Make sure the lighting is bright enough, and that key locations like high-traffic areas, doorways, and reception areas are well-lit. Vertical lighting is preferable to downlighting because it creates a more welcoming atmosphere. Removing lighting covers from ceilings, if appropriate, can create a more organic impression.

Changing the lighting in your waiting area can improve the comfort of your customers as well as generate an atmosphere. In a commercial office atmosphere, soft, brilliant light produces a sense of tranquility and boosts the appeal of things on exhibit, which is ideal.

Low, warm light has a "homey" feeling to it and might add to the appeal if you're trying for a family feel. Artificial light might appear harsh, so avoid using fluorescent lamps in your reception area, and natural light can make your space appear larger by connecting the room to the outside through windows.

Offer Access To Technology

Most of your patients carry their cellphones, tablets, or laptops with them at all times. These are wonderful for personal entertainment, and providing free high-speed internet for patients is the best thing your practice can do.

Patients can get some work done or just listen to humorous YouTube videos with headphones while waiting for the doctor when they can connect to the internet without using up their data plans. Another thing to think about is making outlets easily accessible for charging devices.

Pro-Tip

The easiest method to determine if your waiting area is a pleasant spot for your customers is to put yourself in their shoes: sit in the area and document your experience regularly, and have other staff do the same to see if any modifications are required. You may also survey your frequent customers to see if they have any ideas.