Waiting rooms are a necessary portion of design space for any business that fills appointments at a central location. They can set the tone of a guests visit considering reception and waiting are the first experiences your business offers in person. So what are some key factors that make an awesome waiting room experience?
1. Accessibility – Having a clear entrance and exit, viewable and accessible reception desk that is clean and organized with proper concealment for private information, and easily found restrooms seem obvious, but are extremely important none-the-less. You don’t want guests to feel lost or like they have to figure out your building while managing their time and potentially pressing needs while waiting.
2. Space – Chances are your guests will be varied and could use different spacial accommodations. Some may have their baby or a restless toddler. Some guests may need to take important phone calls or try to focus on work they are trying to make up for on the go. Having access to space that is more private, while still being connected to the rest of the waiting room and reception area so that information or an appointment call is not missed can provide a haven for people of all temperaments. The important part is to not make any guest feel disconnected or unwanted because of their own priorities like work or a small child, but allow everyone to have their preferences met within reason.
3. Comfort – There should be ample seating to accommodate your maximum traffic on the busiest day. Your chairs and/or benches should be chosen for comfort while still being cost effective. This may include things like armrests or varying sizes of seating for guests of all ages and shape, fabric and texture that is durable, but still pleasing and won’t cause any sort of discomfort or irritation if used for an extended period of time. The lay out of the seating should promote closeness for guests who are there for support and company, but allow separation between parties.
4. Color, Lighting and Decor – Factors that may seem inconsequential include the type of lighting and brightness in the waiting room, colors used in the design, and type of decor or artwork there for guests to enjoy. If you do not have access to ample natural lighting during a sunny day, use softer, brighter white lights to mimic the feel. Colors like yellow and red are often seen as more aggressive and should be avoided while colors like blues, greens, and soft pinks give off more of a honest and comforting feeling. A window with pleasant view or art work of natural scenes can help create a sense comfort and serenity and not confinement. You may also showcase work from your business or that is related to your industry.
5. Technology – Providing easy access to power outlets for guests to charge portable devices such as phones and tablets should be standard practice. WiFi has become an integral part of many business locations, allowing guests to use their internet friendly devices at their leisure or perform any mobile based work like sending emails while they wait for their appointment. This also gives you an opportunity to promote or inform your guests about your company with some sort of digital display on a monitor or TV. Knowledge about your business, the people who work there, or demonstrations showcasing your work provides another way for guests to feel more connected to you and your company.
These are just some basic suggestions to use when designing an awesome waiting room, but don’t be afraid to be a little creative to capture your business’s personality while improving your patient waiting experience. This will enhance over all experience and make appointments less of an ordeal and more of a pleasant exchange.