If you’ve ever built or renovated your home then you know about the hours of thinking time invested into the layout of your home pondering the functionality of each space along with the selection of all the fixtures, fittings and colour selections – who knew there were so many variations of whites. You probably also experienced the uh huh moment where the champagne taste and beer budget collided, and compromises were made!
Whilst your home is your castle, a personal space and often a sanctuary from the hectic world around you, workspaces are often relegated and sometimes neglected. The irony is that you probably spend more time awake at work than you do at home. When thinking about your pharmacy design, there are several perspectives for consideration:
Customer perception – What does the look and feel of your pharmacy communicate to patients and prospective patients? How easy is it for the customer to move around the pharmacy and find what they need?
Workflows – A poorly designed space will impacting your day to day operations, most notable, your profitability. Less tangible will be how your staff feel about their workplace and their productivity. Looking at your current dispensary design, or your POS counter design, what do you and your team consistently get annoyed by? What workaround was created to overcome it?
Return on Investment – your pharmacy is an investment and needs to provide you with an adequate return – increase in sales and/or efficiency must be an outcome of good design. A good designer considers the use of space or productivity gains.
Regulations, building standards and certification – there are a plethora of these which apply to pharmacy and meeting these is critical to gaining certifications and approvals. When you are planning your space, make sure you know each of these in detail, and they are considered in any design. Building certifiers are there to ensure the proposed construction meets the Building Code of Australia & Australian Standard requirements.
The science of combining these elements is found in spatial design. This is a relatively new discipline that combines elements of architecture, interior design, and landscape design with a focus on the interaction between humans and their space. Using specific design strategies and psychologies, spatial design impacts the perception and feelings of that space and the extent to which we enjoy engaging with it.
In a retail environment, it brings the human element into the store – from both a functional work perspective and a customer perspective. By its very nature, therefore the work tasks and inputs to those tasks are critical contributions into the design brief. By focusing on the flow of work between customer and staff and then assembly of prescriptions, a spatial designer can create a space that reflects the way you work and can facilitate efficiencies.
Briefing a spatial designer takes time and effort, it is well worth it. They will seek details from you on how you like to work, how you engage with the customer, what services you offer, your drug dispensing data, how you prep your DAA’s. They want every detail, right down to the size of your fridge. This should not be a game to see how much you can fit into the space, rather how much space do you need to be effective, efficient and profitable.
The result is that the people and the space work hand in hand, rather than forcing a fit. The impact this has on staff satisfaction cannot be underestimated.
Before engaging with a designer, ask the designer to share examples of their work. This will be well beyond how a pharmacy looks, it will be how the heart of the pharmacy operates. Understand the problem the designer was trying to solve in the design brief, the solution they developed and the impact it is having on that business.