Enhance staff wellbeing and productivity with effective design

We’ve written previously about the impact of dental practice design on patients, and while effective design does indeed optimise the patient experience, your patients shouldn’t be your only consideration.

Staff are without a doubt the backbone of your practice and, on average, will spend nearly a third of their life at work. As a practice owner, you’re responsible for making sure your practice runs like clockwork and that the wellbeing of your staff is upheld.

Investing in your employees

Putting in the money and effort to craft a well-conceived design that supports and communicates to staff they are valued will not only enhance their experience, but will strengthen your professional image, increase efficiency, and improve productivity, ultimately leading to greater profitability and better practice growth. 

This article explores some of the areas of consideration to acknowledge when designing a practice that puts its staff at the very heart. 

Dental practice designs that impact staff


Staff should be able to move effortlessly through the practice. The layout should promote ease of use, not make those using the space feel tense or crowded. Taking the time to think about the function and form of your dental practice is well worth it.

Simple layout decisions such as positioning sterilisation rooms in close proximity to treatment rooms, but separate from the lab, will reduce travel, increase efficiency for instrument reprocessing and room turnover, and help keep spaces separate and sterile. 

If people are regularly bumping into one another or tripping over equipment, it may be time to re-evaluate the layout of your practice and consider investing in some changes. Undertaking some basic renovations could open up a space significantly and help create a more efficient and enjoyable dental practice for all who use it. A space that fosters productivity and makes use of strategic ergonomics saves time and boosts profits long-term. So talk to an industry expert, such as Dentec, for advice and quotes on a bespoke layout that could transform the day-to-day operations of your practice.

Treatment rooms

Carefully planning the functionality of treatment rooms is critical for seamless procedures. Strategic layouts and the intuitive positioning of equipment will enhance efficiency, and maximise safety during procedures. Reducing the twisting and turning to adjust and reach for instruments will not only smoothen procedures but ensure staff aren’t being sent home with headaches, tension or back pains either. The ergonomics of a typical procedure should be greatly considered to reduce the stresses placed upon staff. This will not only keep them happier but also healthier and able to work at peak performance for longer.

Dental treatment room

Choosing the right equipment will also significantly impact your staff's working experience. Opt for a dental chair that balances ergonomics, functionality and reliability, and boasts features your staff are most comfortable working with, such as adjustable foot controls, instrument trays, and touch control panels. Maximise reach and improve work positions by choosing a delivery system that also suits your staff's needs and preferences. Or, consider providing ambidextrous instrument support to allow for multi-practitioner surgeries and future-proofing, regardless of your current staff's dominant hand preference. Flexibility in treatment centres is key as you’re investing in equipment that will need to meet the needs of many people over the course of several procedures.

From dental chairs and assistant stools through to the cabinetry you choose, listening to the needs and preferences of your staff will pay dividends. Reflecting their feedback on your equipment and design decisions will champion better and more efficient procedures and will be a long-term investment in the wellbeing of your staff and their experience at your practice.

Storage & Organisation

Reduce any risk of contamination and simplify workflows by keeping a well-organised practice. Everything should have a place and be consistently stored and managed for ease of operation. This requires adequate storage and a well-thought-out design that supplements effective organisational habits and procedures by all.

Small changes throughout the practice make a big difference in the overall functions of the business and the day-to-day workload of your staff. Having dental stations set up efficiently, in a consistent manner and ready to go before a patient even sits down not only makes procedures smoother but makes turning over a treatment room easier and quicker to achieve. It enables any staff member to work at a new station confident in the knowledge that tools are easy to find. The more efficiently a room can be turned over, the sooner another patient can be seen. It’s little things like this that quickly add up. So ensure smart storage and organisation methods are optimised in your practice to minimise the time staff spend running all around the building, and any mistakes or unnecessary delays being made.

Staff Room

Staff rooms are sometimes designed as an afterthought compared to the rest of the practice. But as a space staff use to retreat to, relax in and enjoy, taking the time to create a bespoke and comfortable staff room will have a profound effect on your employee’s wellbeing. Having a generous space where staff can gather and enjoy promotes a more social and relaxing atmosphere in the workplace. Adding a decent kitchenette, good storage, comfortable furniture, and maybe even extra amenities such as a coffee machine, are all ways that communicate to your staff they are valued and well-cared for.


Simple design decisions that offer personal space and privacy in the workplace will make staff feel more at ease and trusted in their place of work. Ensure there is an area for staff to store personal belongings confidently and, if space allows it, add a toilet for staff to use that’s separate from the public patient facilities. It’s also worth considering including an office space or secluded area in your design where staff are able to work quietly and view medical documents or confidential information in private. 

Private office space


While good lighting is non-negotiable for surgery or treatment rooms, don’t neglect the rest of the practice. Natural light offers significant benefits, especially to staff who are spending every day in this environment and even more so if they’re unlikely to venture outside during their breaks. 

Wise lighting decisions will help reduce headaches or migraines, improve alertness, increase productivity and reduce fatigue. So enhance your staff's work experience and take care of their wellbeing by investing in good lighting in every room.

Digital Systems

If your practice is not yet paperless, it’s time to make the switch. Make your practice far more organised and efficient by digitising your records. Documents and patient files will be much easier to find, less likely to be lost or misfiled, and far easier to update and access instantly by all those who need them. Make use of systems such as digital management tools for scheduling shifts, automated billing, and internal communication. Digital systems will eliminate unnecessary administrative hassles and repetitive tasks from your staff's working day and turn your practice into an efficient, synchronised, technologically savvy workplace.

Homely staff room


Avoid designing a practice that only looks good from the patient's perspective. Add some simple aesthetics throughout for your staff to enjoy in their areas too. At the end of the day, they’re the ones spending long hours in these spaces. Create a comforting oasis by adding a few plants. Many studies have shown that plants can bolster workplace wellbeing considerably. They help reduce stress, increase productivity, enhance creativity, reduce sickness and absence rates, purify the air, and not to mention they look good! So make work a more attractive and comforting place to be - your patients will appreciate it too.


The availability of staff parking remains one of the most desirable benefits a workplace can offer. Reducing staff commuting time, eliminating parking stress and helping them to save money on parking fees can hugely affect a person’s working day and be a deciding factor when choosing whether to accept or leave a job. If it’s possible to do so, reserve parking spaces for staff when designing your practice to provide huge benefits for retaining great and happy members of your team. 

Dental staff parking

Invest in your staff and reap the rewards! A dental practice that marries together different design elements to enhance the working experience of its staff will not only boost productivity and efficiency but also communicate to staff they are appreciated.

planning on opening a new dental practice or renovating?

As dental practice fitout and design experts, talk to us today if you’re looking to build a new practice or renovate an existing one and we can ensure your staff are not overlooked in the design process. No matter how big or small the project, Dentec has the skills and insights to turn your dental practice into a place where business flourishes and employees thrive. 


The team at Dentec operate across New Zealand. We are always happy to come to you and ensure we have a full understanding of your requirements and establish a strong foundation.