Editor's note: Practice Life is a new column designed to offer tools to help your practice manage daily challenges, big or small, more efficiently
In our profession, there's really no way to plan cleaning, and sometimes a can of air freshener just doesn't cut it. Follow the ABC rule: Always Be Cleaning. If you're headed to another room in your practice, take something with you that belongs there. Keep surfaces cleared and wiped down. Mop around the perimeter of rooms to avoid slip injuries but freshen odors. Take a moment to step back and see a room as your customer does. If something looks out of place or dirty, take care of it. Remember, clients are more likely to notice when a facility isn't clean. For example, consider these easy-to-overlook places:
> Make sure to check the bathroom daily to restock towels and ensure that the floor, toilet and sink areas are clean.
> Pet hair tends to float under elevated objects like refrigerators, surgical units and cabinets, so get the vacuum hose under there at least weekly. This hair can give off odors and also collects dust and allergens.
A secret trick to help stop odors is to tape dryer sheets under desks, behind cabinets and inside drawers. They give off the pleasant fragrance of clean laundry, which can help cut the many odors our practices generate every day. Also, don't hesitate to load up on air fresheners. Gel-type fresheners hide easily behind counter displays so your team sees them, but customers don't. All they notice is the smell of spring flowers or an island breeze, which they most likely didn't expect when walking into a veterinary facility.
Don't forget to make cleaning part of your daily routine. If you walk an elderly client and her pet to the car and notice three cigarette butts and a dog mess on the way back, pick them up! They aren't going to jump into the trash can by themselves, and clients will see them as your uncleaned mess.
Team tip: Keep a waste pick-up bag and a latex glove in your back pocket every day. It takes a while to get into the habit, but it will make your day easier and your practice cleaner.
Brent Dickinson is the practice manager at Dickinson-McNeill Veterinary Clinic in Chesterfield, N.J. Share your tips to keep your practice clean at dvm360.com/community.