There are a lot of different ways to go about setting up a waiting room in your business, no matter what kind of business it might be. But as we’ve noted on previous occasions, the most effective way of improving the patient waiting room experience is by installing a TV and choosing content to show. Most waiting rooms have TV at this point, which tells us two things: first, that it’s a tried-and-true concept, and second, that patients (or customers) at this point expect to see TV.
As wise as it is to set your waiting room up in this fashion however, a TV can also go out at any time. Whether the machine itself stops working or whatever content you’re showing on it is for some reason compromised, it is always possible that this little patient distraction can go dark. This isn’t a huge problem, and more often than not it’s one that can be fixed fairly quickly. With that said however, it is still a good idea for every place of business with a waiting room TV to have a few fallback options in place.
The following make for simple, affordable backups plans that can keep patients occupied and even entertained in the event that the TV goes out.
One simple truth today is that many patients in waiting rooms will be looking at their phones as much as any TV to begin with. This doesn’t help you if you’re running business-related information or advertisement on TV of course. But when it comes to providing something for people to do while they’re waiting, high-speed Wi-Fi will be appreciated. While the acceleration of 5G adoption may be moving us closer to a point at which people rely more on public networks than Wi-Fi, we’re no there yet. So, ensuring that your waiting room has a strong connection (provided it won’t interfere with any aspects of the business) is a very nice gesture to patients.
Not long ago, stocking a waiting room with board games might have seemed like a dated option. Now, however, these same games are trendy. This is in part because of a spattering of celebrities who have become somewhat famous for enjoying their board games (naturally leading fans to follow suit). For instance, Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe evidently loves board games, according to one write-up on the actor’s interests. According to a broader list of interesting movie star hobbies, Fast & Furious actor Vin Diesel and acclaimed director Quentin Tarantino enjoy board games as well. There have even been reports that former President Barack Obama likes a tabletop game now and again. All of these influences — plus an apparent desire among younger generations to find ways to socialize in person — has made board games trendy again. Thus, having a few popular games stashed in a waiting room makes for great outreach to a lot of possible patients. Many will enjoy playing even portions of games while waiting.
The only downside to board games is that they’re often hard to finish in a waiting room (even if as noted many will enjoy playing even for a short time). Puzzle books offer a similar form of casual entertainment to people waiting with less of a concern about finishing, or having someone to play against in the first place. The only problem with this idea, naturally, is that books fill up, meaning any business taking this step needs to be diligent about replacement (no one wants to pick up a waiting room puzzle book only to find it mostly filled in already!). The good news is that puzzle books of all kinds are quite affordable, and it’s manageable for offices to stock up on extras to have on hand.
Not entirely unlike board gaming, adult coloring has become explosively trendy in recent years. In this case it’s less because of celebrity attention (though there are certainly some famous figures who are in on coloring), and it has nothing to do with a desire to socialize. It is actually primarily about coloring’s association with mindfulness. Many have come to see coloring as a soothing activity that can ease stress and promote calm, and as a result there are now people of all ages who regularly take time to color. Here, as with puzzle books, you may run into a slight hassle having to restock books. On the other hand, you can also find lots of coloring templates that are available for free online — meaning you also have the option of printing out stacks of papers for people in your waiting room to use if they please.
Ultimately, TV remains the best option, and should be the top priority in all waiting rooms. But for those times when the TV may go out for whatever reason — or for those patients who might simply be looking for something else — these are some other interning options to consider in addition to television.