Have you ever thrown a party at your house?  Sure you have.  Before the guests arrive you make sure the house is clean and in tip-top shape.  Well, think of your patients as guests.  If your office is dirty or outdated, you might be sending the wrong message to the patient.

The main problem is not the décor, even though a lot of offices I see are outdated. It is the ability to maintain the office and find the time without the expense of keeping the building in shape. Which room in your home is the most important to make sure it sparkles?  The bathroom.  A clean bathroom shows patients that you pay attention to detail.  Believe it or not, a dirty bathroom will probably disgust the patient. A disgusted patient will not want you to do their surgery.

Keep a maintenance log.  Have lists of all your existing office equipment and furnishings.  Keep separate lists for furniture, professional equipment and office equipment. If you own your building, then have a list for building interior and exterior maintenance. 

On each page, write down the item, model number and vendor.  Include the vendor’s name, address and phone number.  List the desired maintenance that is required and how often.  Also include the last date the item was serviced.  For example: picture your carpeting.  How often do you feel your carpet needs to be cleaned?  Do you see a stain and ignore it?  What is the protocol when there is a stain?

Assign a person to keep the records.  Let them know you can count on them and this job is vital for the care of the patients, since a dirty office might lead to dirty instruments. Don’t minimize the purpose of this job.  You chose this person because they are a team player.  You can also have several people help out and assign different areas of the office to different people.  However, one person must be in charge of making sure the log is maintained.

In addition, make a cleaning checklist.  Delegate these tasks to an employee.  A clean and presentable office increases staff morale and productivity, as well as encourages investment in the practice.

  1. Is the welcome area/waiting room clean and neat?  Are the magazines kept up-to-date?  Do you have toys for children? Are they safe and clean?
  2. Is the carpeting clean and in good shape? What about the walls? Is the wallpaper in good shape or torn?  Does the paint have dirt or shoe marks?
  3. Are the staff members presentable and are their uniforms or scrubs clean?
  4. Is the front desk area clean and neat or a mess?
  5. Do the treatment rooms have scary instruments hanging around?  Are these rooms presentable?  Are the counter tops neat or cluttered? 
  6. Are the windows clean or smudged?
  7. Is there dust under the chairs or worse yet, on some equipment?

The biggest problem in most offices is the staff lounge.  There should be a rotating schedule that describes a list of what needs to be cleaned and by whom each day. This includes dishes and taking out the garbage.  The staff might think the cleaning people should do this, but inform them you are trying to cut costs and you would rather use the money for bonuses than on a cleaning company.  If everyone does their share, it will not take long to keep the office in tip-top shape.

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