By Lorie Damon, Managing Director
A trip to the doctor’s office is generally not high on the fun scale. Visitors to medical office buildings often feel lousy, totally stressed, or both. Stir in an inconsolable baby or semi-ambulatory octogenarian and trouble multiplies.
Medical Office Building property managers can make or break the visitors’ experience by doing small things for both tenants and their patients that make a huge impact— things that, when done right, go unnoticed and when done wrong stand out like a polar bear in a coal mine.
- Respond quickly to calls. When a patient is shivering from the onslaught of icy air conditioning or a care provider can’t see patients because a light fixture is out, the space is unusable and unable to generate revenue until the problem is resolved. “Quickly” in medical office buildings generally means within two hours of receiving the call. Across our healthcare platform, our property management and engineering teams regularly meet or exceed that threshold for “quick.”
- Let tenants know they matter. Small gestures, like a Hollywood theme day with popcorn and movie ticket giveaways or Food Truck Fridays, create good will and a positive work atmosphere. However, building-wide tenant appreciation events are often not the best way to show appreciation. Physician tenants and their staff can’t leave their patients long enough to enjoy them. Take time to meet and get to know building tenants—and that may mean early in the morning, or late at night, when they are not seeing patients. Many problems can be anticipated or headed off at the pass when the Property Manager has a pulse on her Medical Office Building tenants. Conduct an annual tenant survey, and give tenants an incentive to participate with a t-shirt giveaway or a thank you gift-card, ensuring that responses emanate from beyond the usual suspects. Remember, Medical Office Building tenants manage sick people all day. Ease their stress with a hassle-free work space.
- Be mindful of the volume and variety of visitors. A Medical Office Building sees an enormous amount of traffic by its nature. Making the visit seamless for guests is the ultimate goal. Guests on crutches, walkers, or in wheelchairs appreciate ease of movement, so be sure floor mats, rugs, and the like don’t hamper mobility. Ensure accessibility is painless with effective signage and available, nearby staff. All building staff and service contractors should exhibit a professional appearance—attired in clean, professional uniforms and limiting cell phone usage while interfacing with or working near patients and tenants. This creates a positive impression and reduces stress. Keep a close eye on the restrooms. In high-traffic Medical Office Buildings, the public restrooms host a constant parade of visitors. Cleanliness is of utmost importance, given the volume of germs in this space. Also considering all the hand washing, never EVER run out of paper towels or allow hand-drying devices to lapse out of service!
In the world of Property Management, facilitating Medical Office Buildings offers special challenges and circumstances. The right doses of careful attention, comfort, and care are the best medicine for happy patients and tenants.
Special thanks to Susanne Ingegno, Trey Boyd, John Rouwenhorst and Renee Audet for their anecdotes and input for this post!
Lorie leads Cushman & Wakefield’s Healthcare Practice Group, working with team members and clients across the country to promote leadership and best practices in leasing and asset management across the continuum of healthcare assets.